The Innocents“I have a dream,” said the homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk on Easter morning. “I have a dream that I will have a large house that I can fill with children, the unwanted, unloved and abused children of the world.
“There’s a little five year old girl. She gets passed around and used by (men). There’s a baby. He can sit up, so someone sets him out on the front steps of the apartment building where he lives. Sometimes people give him something to eat or drink. He’s in the sun when it’s hot. Sometimes he falls over and falls down the steps and gets hurt and cries. If he’s lucky, someone sets him up again.”
“Where’s his mother?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve asked people who she is and no one knows. They say he’s just out there when they come out the door and they never see anyone take care of him. I want to give him a home.
“The innocents. The Lord gave me the word innocents. I asked him who the innocents are. He told me they are the children no one wants. I pray for them. Will you pray for them?”
We assured her we will.
The Pink CrossWe walked around the corner to a group of homeless women sitting under tarps. “Melinda” was busy working on something on the sidewalk.
“I saw you coming down the street and I’m making this for you.” Somewhere Melinda had come up with a small pink foam cross and foam stickers in the shape of hearts, churches and the words “Joy”, “Pray,” and “Love God.”
“Jesus rose up from the dead on Easter,” Melinda told us. “Here, this is for you to remind you of that. Would you like some tickets to a movie? It’s about a girl that got hurt, but God helped her in all her trouble. I have two extra tickets.”
We accepted the tickets and thanked her, and gave her and her friends water, food and shirts.
“Happy Easter!” they shouted as we walked on to another group of homeless people.
Yes, the risen Lord walks among the homeless, not only on Easter, but also on every day of the week. He is there, among the beauty of those who know and love him, but also in the middle of incredible darkness.
Murder Walks These Streets“Six homeless men have been murdered down here lately,” said our friend “Arthur”. We’ve known Arthur for several years. He dreams of starting a business and getting off the street. So far it hasn’t happened.
“One night I was coming back to my cart and there was a dead man laying right there,” Arthur said, pointing to a small patch of ground planted with bushes. “Someone had bashed in his head and his brains were all over the place.”
“Are you afraid?” I asked.
“Sure, but this is all I got. So far I’ve been lucky, I guess.”
“Drug deal gone bad?” I asked.
“Maybe. I dunno. I was walkin’ around for a couple of hours. It was late and there he was when I came back.”
“Why doesn’t this stuff get in the paper, Arthur?”
“Nobody cares when one of us gets murdered. It’s bad publicity for the city.”
“We care, Arthur.”
“We know. You show it.”
Incredible beauty walks among the homeless, but incredible evil also is their constant companion.
Get the CopWith my little pink cross held in my hand, we rounded the corner a couple of hundred feet from where the man had been murdered a few weeks before.
“Them damn cops won’t let us play football there in the street,” a couple of them told me.
“Why not?” I asked.
“We don’t know, but they’re gonna pay for it.”
A group of about twenty angry homeless men were milling around. One police cruiser with one policeman inside backed into place in the middle of the street in front of them. The policeman rolled down his window, then opened his door, got out and stood there, facing off with the men.
“Friends, we have cold sweet grapes, water and buffalo wing flavored goldfish crackers for you” we announced as we purposely walked between the policeman and the group of angry men. “Who needs a fresh, clean shirt? I have a bag of them here. My wife even ironed them for you.”
Soon we were handing out food, water and shirts and the mood of the crowd changed. Only one man continued to taunt and curse the policeman, who stood face-to-face with him. The policeman told him to calm down. The policeman returned to the safety of his cruiser and the crowd sat, eating grapes and crackers. Some tried on their new shirts.
“This is Easter,” we proclaimed. “Have a good Easter, guys.”
“Happy Easter!” several told us.
No one mentioned Jesus rising from the dead and no one gave us an Easter cross. But no one jumped the policeman and no one got shot.
Jesus Walks These StreetsJesus walks the streets. He walks the streets on Easter morning and on every other morning. People are murdered there, but others are safe. Some mothers set their babies on the front steps of their apartment buildings and leave them alone. Other mothers make plans to get off the streets and make a home for the unwanted and unloved children.
We see Jesus walking these streets. Have you seen him there? We see him every week walking these streets. He’s not hard to find.
Blog Series on Helping Homeless People
- Homeless People: Your Neighbors with No Address
- Learning to See Homeless People
- How to Help 10,000 Homeless People
- 16 Ways to Build Relationships with the Poor
- 10 Ideas For Helping Homeless People
- 10 Dos and Don'ts in Loving Homeless People
- Just Love Homeless People
- Finding Easter with the Homeless
- Loving the Homeless
- Helping the Homeless in the Rain