At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores... Luke 16:20
If you have been to our building lately, you may have noticed something new. For the last five weeks or so, we have had a group of people sitting in the shade on the lot adjacent to Heigham House. Some of these folks are familiar, and some are strangers. Many are in the bondage of addiction.
When I came to St. Paul’s, I knew virtually nothing about heroin, meth, or fentanyl. Here are a few things I learned:
I tell you these two things because addiction is scary. Knowing more will help you feel more aware and secure while coming to the building. It may encourage you to join the Harm Reduction team.
These people, sitting in the shade adjacent to our yard, are absolutely precious to their Creator. God longs for their deliverance and restoration. I confess, that I have not joined God in that desire.
I’ve been so irritated by the trash, their sleepy presence, and my own ambivalence about them, that I have basically wished they’d just disappear. I repent of that.
In a few Sundays, we’ll be hearing the story of Lazarus (Luke 19:16-31). He was a poor man who sat outside the rich man’s door, suffering. We have a Lazarus outside our door. The sores may be from drug injections, and the hunger may be for the next hit, but the suffering is real, and we are called by Jesus to respond.
On September 21, 2022 we’ll launch our Harm Reduction team. This is the embodiment of help and healing. It’s a method for offering prevention of transmissible diseases (HIV and Hep C), preventing overdose (Narcan), and creating a supportive community through food and relationship that just might empower someone to take the next step toward healing.
If you are interested in participating in this doorstep ministry, click HERE to begin.
-- Pastor Rebecca
At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores...
Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end, you will be counted among the wise.
If you are like me, you are happy to give advice and much less happy to receive it. I’ve always been that way, and I’m not getting any better. I’m also much better at saying what’s wrong with everything than determining what’s wrong with me. Fortunately, that one is improving as I age! But the advice thing is an issue.
King Solomon, credited with the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, was purported to be the wisest man in the world. He gave a lot of advice. He is the one who said, “listen to advice and accept discipline, and in the end, you will be counted among the wise." He was great at giving advice but, like the rest of us, not so great at taking it either. Instead of following the advice of others and remaining faithful to monotheistic Judaism, he practiced Judaism alongside other religions. The decision ultimately devastated his kingdom politically and culturally.
Author and pastor Andy Stanley say, “How do you know when you need advice? When you don’t want it.”
We are in a season of discernment at St. Paul’s. We are receiving advice on a new outreach ministry for our addicted neighbors (see Harm Reduction below). We are discerning God’s call to us through the Diocesan program Requiem and Renaissance. Soon we’ll be interviewing a new batch of candidates for our communications position. That hire will lead us further in our La Misa launch. In all of this, we need advice!
We need to share our wisdom and listen to outside voices who will help us. We may not always want this advice, but we need it.
I pray that you will take Andy’s words to heart when someone says to you, “Take my advice….” Before we close down our receptivity, let’s open ourselves to what God might have to tell us. Then we’ll be counted among the wise.
-- Pastor Rebecca
Most of the blog articles are written by our Rector, The Rev. Rebecca Ragland