Monday, February 14, 2011

Music for the Saddness

I met a homeless man back in November.  He had just arrived in Norman with nothing except the clothes on his back.  After spending much time together we have become good friends and now read scripture together at least one morning of the week.

His faith inspires me.  Although born and raised in Oklahoma, he is of a different culture than I and the way he sees the world reminds me to find my identity in my Creator and not my job, material things, or relationships.  He has a hunger for scripture that would make any white, middle-class, success-driven minister be jealous.  The funny thing is when he insists that I have a lot to teach him, I immediately respond with, "no, you have a lot to teach me."  And then we carry on for a few minutes like two girls do when trying to convince the other one saying, "no, you're pretty" "no, you are", "no..." and so on and so on.

Last week after we were finished reading scripture together, knowing that I play the guitar, he said, "Could you play me something on your guitar before I go?"  I told him I'd be glad to!  So we went to my office, he sat across from me and I played him the incredibly old praise song from my youth days called "Whom Shall I Fear."

The whole time he never took his eyes off of my hands.  You would have thought I was Bach playing prelude to cello suite no. 1 instead of the G, C, D, C awesomeness of praise songs.

As I was putting my guitar back into its case he said, "I think if I knew how to play an instrument I'd never be sad again."

And with that, my heart melted.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Something Simple

Snow, snow, and more snow.

I am writing this the morning after Norman received yet another wintery blast of 6"-8".  Wow.  In terrible weather such as this many people do have worries and thoughts of those who are without adequate shelter.  I in no way know all of the homeless population in Norman, but the ones that I am acquainted with, to my knowledge, have found a warm place for these last few weeks.  The Salvation Army is not turning anyone away and last I heard they maxed out at 32 guests a few nights ago.  For those that have seen our local Salvation Army, that's a packed house.  All those living at the river found their way to the Salvation Army or friend's houses.

A great friend of mine who is a Senior at Norman North came to church with a great idea last week.  He came a day after the first big snow hit and said, "Joey, what do you think about taking a large container of hot chocolate over to the people staying at the Salvation Army?"

It is creative, personal, and relational genius like this that characterizes the up and coming generation.

So, last Thursday at about 4:30pm four of us ventured to the church kitchen to make a vat of hot chocolate.  Let me just say, making hot chocolate in such large quantities should only be attempted by professionals...which we were not.

However, an hour and a few minutes later we arrived at the Salvation Army with a drink that was sure to warm your insides.  We all enjoyed getting to visit with the people staying there.

Many of those who enjoyed the chocolate already come to our church on Sundays.  When they showed up that Sunday, they had smiles on their faces and high remarks about the hot chocolate that was still delicious at breakfast.

What a great idea that was.  A small investment in the right place making the biggest difference.  Something simple.