Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Scripture
Matthew 21:28-32

28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
Devotional
I know a gentleman who spent decades homeless. Though he is now housed, when he reflects on those days he says that the biggest gift anyone could have given him was a simple “Hello” or “Good Morning.” He didn’t have money to give gifts himself, but made a point to acknowledge the humanity of the people around him. So often, he says, he simply felt invisible and less than human. 

My son asked me why we can’t just give people homes. In his 7-year-old mind, having a home is not optional. Every person needs a home. So, why do some people have them and others don’t? Why can’t we just give every person a home?

I had to admit to him that I didn’t know, but I wish we could just give everyone the things they need to be alive and to be human. The truth is, we do treat people as less than human if it happens that they cannot afford the things to support their humanity: food, water, clothing, shelter, good safe sleep. 

Someone recently asked me if I thought that it was drug addiction or mental illness that was the greatest contributing factor to homelessness. It’s neither. There are not enough homes for everyone to have one. We have decided that homes are commodities and commodities only have value if there is scarcity. The truth is that the way our economy and society works ensures that someone will always be homeless.

I assume that the man who asked me that question was asking out of genuine curiosity and ignorance, but it did make me wonder if he would think that the gentleman I know who once experienced homelessness was mentally ill or had an addiction disorder. I wondered if he thought some people with certain circumstances just don’t deserve a home?

Jesus warns us that our whole lives are just a set of circumstances. We are not the things we do or the experiences we have. The kingdom of God is addressing the humanity of the people we meet before their circumstances. Circumstances can change, but the image of God will always be present in the people you meet.
Prayer
Creator God, what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. Remind us to address each other with the glory and honor we are due. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at: agape@westfieldpc.org.
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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