The Bridge: Blessings from the Street
Posted on August 26, 2010 by under Outreach and Missions,

A couple of weeks ago the Masts gathered for a few days in New York City!  My brother and his family came from Missouri, my mom from Michigan, and we headed down from good old Poughkeepsie.  It was a wonderful trip, but something strange kept happening.  Everywhere we walked,  pushing Kyle and Courtney in their wheelchairs, very rough looking people would bless them.  “Bless you my son!”  “Bless you and keep going, girl!” I asked Jill if she noticed this and she had, but since we think our kids are so wonderful, we didn’t think anything of it.  Then on the last night as we were walking to our car to return home, the “group” was about a half a block behind our chairs.  A man came up and said, “God bless you, boy!”  “God bless you, sweetheart!”  And then he looked me in the eyes and said, “And God bless you!  Keep strong!  Keep the faith!”  I watched him pass with a smile on his face and go and hit my brother up for money.  Then it hit me.  Our entire time in the city we were being blessed by the homeless!  I was shocked. 

I had spent time, as I often do in the city, struggling with my heart about helping those in need as I tried not to look in their eyes.  Now they were the ones blessing me.  It is so easy to put people in camps.  He is middle class.  She is rich.  They are poor.  It is even worse when we go with the grace of Christ and still put people into camps.  Even though I want to believe I serve with a good heart, I am human and there are days when, yes, even one of your pastors, wants to shout, “GET A JOB!”  Now, I understand why they can’t and all the injustice that needs to be dealt with to truly transform the lives of the needy among us.  I guess what I am trying to do is paint a picture of where my heart was during this trip.  I wanted to look at a group of people in the streets and allow them to disappear.  Or, if not disappear, make them the receiver of my generosity.  Never did I expect to be the one on the receiving end.  Never did I expect a homeless man or a junkie be the one to be Christ in my life and speak Christ’s words to my heart. 

This has been a long and painful year for our family and it feels like the pain and frustration will never end.  I was at a place where I was starting to pray, “How much longer . . .?”  God’s answer came.  Not through another pastor or a middle class member of HRC.  God’s answer to my prayer did not come from all my years of study or even my daily reading.  It came from the mouth of those we love the least (I have the same “Jesus response” to loving the “least,” I am just being honest for all of us!).  In those blessings, which I take very seriously in all that I do, I heard the words of my God in heaven, “YOU are my son, whom I love, with YOU I am well pleased.”  That is what I needed to hear from God.  I needed God’s blessing so I knew I had the strength to  on.  Only God gives it to me through the three things I love the most: my family, a blessing, and people who need the grace of Jesus.

You all know the stories about the angels visiting in the form of the least in the sight of this world.  For three days in the City the heavens sang God’s blessing upon me and I almost missed it.  Are you listening? 

A Blessing from God for you today . . .

GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE, MY BELOVED CHILD!!!

Until next time . . . Mark