SEEING CHRIST IN OTHERS

COLLECTION

Pilgrim People

Jesus said: ‘If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it: but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.’

The people of God have always been pilgrims, called to follow him with only the promise that he will be with them. No assurance that life will be comfortable and secure. No agreement that there will be no hard times, confrontations, periods of uncertainty. Rather the reverse.

And the people of god suffer and give up the struggle…
Suffer and become resigned to suffering…
Suffer but still sing for joy.

Being a pilgrim means having no abiding city.
Being a pilgrim means following rough, overgrown paths and winding through narrow alleyways as well as striding along the main street.
Being a pilgrim means trying to companion other pilgrims who have strangers’ faces and who speak unfamiliar languages.

Being a pilgrim is to accept all that Jesus means when he says ‘Follow me’… a total willingness to let go of the past, fulfill the present and welcome the future in order to proclaim the gospel of the living God.

Jill Jenkins
England
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Hospitality

I asked Love to help me
greet the stranger in myself.
I knew how to open my door to the world
and greet everyone out there as friend
but I didn’t have any kind of welcome
for the impoverished one within.
She was the weakness I couldn’t acknowledge.
She was the pain I didn’t allow.
She was the leper I’d tried to cast out the city,
the one who cried at night in lonely places.
I thought that if I let her in
she’d cause me no end of trouble, and I was afraid.

But Love helped me to prepare a feast.
We set the table, Love and I,
and then I did it,
I invited my stranger.
‘Answer the door,’ said Love.
‘You have nothing to fear.’

She came in slowly.

I put my arms around her
and embraced her in her rags
and we wept together for years of separation.
I sat my stranger at the head of the table,
gave her the best of food and wine
and, claiming her as my own,
began to introduce her to my friends.
‘But who shall I say she is?’
I whispered to Love.
‘I can’t call her a stranger now.’
Love smiled and said, ‘Don’t you know?
She is the Christ.’

Joy Cowley
Aotearoa New Zealand

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Christ Our Advocate

Christ our advocate,
we pray for our sisters and brothers throughout the world:

out of our poverty and theirs,
may we not stumble
by judging each other.

Christ, brother of the poor,
in the faces of our partners may we see your love.

In our faces may they see your love.
Together may we abide in you,
celebrating the risen life of the Kingdom.

Christ, bridge-builder,

help us to work with you and for you.
Through the power of the Spirit
help us to rebuild God’s community of diving purpose
in partnership with all your people.

Kate McIlhagga
England

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Brought to Life

Jean Vanier: ‘I begin to discover something: that this wounded person looks at me, approaches me – all this does something to me, the wounded person calls me forth … we are brought to life by the eyes and hands of wounded people who seem to call us forth to life.’

On a dusty road,
an outcast, with both hands outstretched,
offered me a blessing.
And, deep within, a child who felt cast out –
unrecognised, oppressed –
found voice, and made a song.

In a shanty town,
one who was in rags, both hands outstretched,
offered me a gift.
And, deep within, a hungry, naked child,
tremulous and needing care,
felt fed and richly clad.

In a hospital,
one who will die tomorrow, hands outstretched,
offered me a healing.
And, deep within, a child who hurt and bled
and felt disordered and diseased,
was held, and helped to dance.

There is a touching place
where those whose wounds are seen
reach out to hidden wounds
behind facades of affluence, well-being,
confidence; and say,
‘I recognize you: we are one.’

And some will turn away, afraid
to be unmasked.
And some will weep, at once appalled and glad
to be so recognized; and free
to receive at last and to be heard;
enabled thus to hear and share,
within the commonwealth of woundedness,
the strange, unsettling glory of new life.
Kate Compston
England

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You Are the God of the Poor

You are the God of the poor,
The human and simple God,
The God who sweats in the street,
The God with the weather-beaten face,
That’s why I can talk to you
The way I talk with my people,
Because you are God the worker
And Christ is a worker, too.

You go hand in hand with my people,
You struggle in countryside and town,
You line up in the work camp
To get your daily wage.
You eat snow cones there in the park
With Eusebio, Pancho, and Juan Jose.
And you even complain about the syrup
When they don’t give you much honey.

I’ve seen you in the grocery store,
Eating in a snack-bar,
I’ve seen you selling lottery tickets
Without being embarrassed about that job.
I’ve seen you in the gas stations
checking the tires of a truck,
And even filling holes along the highway
In old leather gloves and overalls.
(Part of the Nicaraguan Mass)
Batahola choir
Nicaragua

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For Christ’s Sake

Prophets in rags

their property in plastic bags
wine bottles in their hands
walking in our streets
sitting at corners
written messages
open hands

Prophets in rags

searching our dustbins
for food
not looking at anybody
not caring
for anything

Prophets in rags
sleeping in our car parks
cooking on open fires
sharing
their food

Prophets in rags
dying in cold winter nights
alone, somewhere
very near

Prophets in rags
many more of them
not far away.
Rudolf Hinz
Germany

—————————————————————

Jesus Christ Is Waiting

Jesus Christ is waiting,
Waiting in the streets;
No one is his neighbor,
All alone he eats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am lonely too.
Make me, friend or stranger,
Fit to wait on you.

Jesus Christ is raging,
Raging in the streets,
Where injustice spirals
And real hopes retreat.
Listen, Lord Jesus
I am angry too.
In the Kingdom’s causes
Let me rage with you.

Jesus Christ is healing,
Healing in the streets;
Curing those who suffer,
Touching those he greets.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I have pity too.
Let my care be active,
Healing just like you.

Jesus Christ is dancing,
Dancing in the streets,
Where each sign of hatred
He, with love, defeats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I should triumph too.
On suspicion’s graveyard
Let me dance with you.

Jesus Christ is calling,
Calling in the streets.
‘Who will join my journey?
I will guide their feet.’
Listen, Lord Jesus,
Let my fears be few.
Walk one step before me;
I will follow you.

Graham Maule
Scotland
——————————————————–
Poor in Spirit

Lord,
Teach me what it is to be poor
not just poor with the absence
of material wealth
But poor in spirit
the kind of poverty that
will make me empty
and create space for you.
Help me let go of the
false securities, the material props
that are so easy to cling to.
Show me what it is to be truly bereft.
Teach me what it is to be poor –
Then Lord, you will be my all
and my priorities will be in order –
Then lord, I will know what
it is to truly love.
Teach me Lord, show me what it is
to be poor – show me, teach me now!
Carys Humphreys
Wales/Taiwan

————————————————————

Intercession for the Homeless

A meditation which concentrates on the theme of homelessness. It uses two voices, one of which, Voice One, is a homeless person. It is based on my experiences during a sponsored sleep-out in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Voice 1 Friday 9 pm – it’s been quite a good day so far – warm and dry. Not much success begging though – but enough for a few cans and a pack of twenty … they help me cope.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – help us to learn not to judge and condemn people because of their lifestyles.

Voice 1 10 pm – I sit on a bench and keep Rab company – he looks terrible. Last night a gang of youths beat him up for a laugh. I give him a can and a smoke but we don’t talk – we’ve said it all before.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – help us to appreciate the small acts of kindness which people are capable of.

Voice 1 11 pm – Rab and I set off for the High Street … the soup kitchen will be open soon and with luck I may get a blanket for the night.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – be with those who do your mission throughout our towns and cities.

Voice 1 Midnight – The soup was thick and warm – that’ll do me ‘til tomorrow. No blanket though. I leave Rab and head for my patch outside the pub – people always seem more sympathetic after they’ve been drinking. At the weekends I can make quite a lot of money, enough to last the week … but it’s usually gone by Wednesday.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – help us try to understand the way others live and seek ways to help people experience the fullness of life which your Son, Jesus Christ, offers to all.

Voice 1 Saturday 1 am – I did well tonight. If you hassle people long enough they’ll usually give you something – especially young people .. They seem to understand. Time to get some sleep. I head for my usual bush in the park … looks like rain.

Voice 2 God, be with your children – help us to learn that we need to do more than hand out coins to those in need. Help us to challenge those structures which force young and old alike on to our streets.

Voice 1 5 am – I wake up wet and cold. The cold seems to race through my aching bones making me shiver uncontrollably. I discard the sodden newspaper which has been my blanket for the night and I walk around to get warm. It’s now that I feel most alone. I’ll feel better when the shops open and I get a drink inside me.

Voice 2 Loving God, be with all your children. Open our eyes so that when we see those in need it is Christ that we see.
John Sanderson

Scotland

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Well-fed, Well-clothed

Well-fed, well-clothed, we sing our harvest praise.
We have enough to last through many days,
But starving children cry and are not fed;
They and their parents have no daily bread.

Pot-bellied, gaunt, with great dull eyes they stare,
And mirror the completeness of despair.
With matchstick limbs, listless they move about,
Children too weak to play and laugh or shout.

We who have plenty cannot really share
Their suffering, however much we care,
And everything we do, and all we give,
Is not enough, and millions will not live.

We cannot know, but we can sympathies.
Lord, help us to spread the seeds of hope around,
And teach us how to plant in fertile ground.
Dorothea Sproule

England
——————————————————–

Lord, When Did We See You?

I was hungry and starving
and you were full;
Thirsty
and you were watering your garden;
With no road to follow, and without hope,
and you called the police
and were happy that they took me prisoner;
Barefoot and with ragged clothing,
and you were saying: ‘I have nothing to wear,
tomorrow I will buy something new.’
Sick
and you asked, ‘Is it infectious?’
Prisoner,
and you said: ‘That is where all those of your class should be.’
Lord, have mercy!
Author Unknown

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‘Nobodies’ to ‘Somebodies’

Lord, help us to link arms with our brothers and sisters who are forgotten, wherever they may be, knowing that his is the task of the body of Christ. And in those we meet today, may we always be sensitive to those whom life seems to push down. May we remember to be with you in lifting them up – to let the ‘nobodies’ be ‘somebodies’.
Garth Hewitt
England

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Mother Teresa and the Beggar Boy

One day Mother Teresa came back from her work in the slums. As she walked to her residence, a beggar boy stood suddenly in front of her and asked her to accept his income of that day: ten rupees. Mother Teresa was very surprised and at first she refused, saying to the boy, ‘Oh no, you have earned this little money for yourself, for your own food.’ But the boy insisted that she accept the money. Reluctantly she took the ten rupees. She said that the boy was happier than she had ever seen anyone who had given her a lot of money.

Involuntarily we are reminded of the Bible story of the widow and her two small coins,* of whom Jesus says, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to line on.’

This is a true story, that I heard from Mother Teresa, when I was a theological student at bishop’s College in Calcutta.
*Mark 12:41–4

Paul Sarker
Bangladesh
————————————————————

Intercession for the Homeless

A meditation which concentrates on the theme of homelessness. It uses two voices, one of which, Voice One, is a homeless person. It is based on my experiences during a sponsored sleep-out in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Voice 1 Friday 9 pm – it’s been quite a good day so far – warm and dry. Not much success begging though – but enough for a few cans and a pack of twenty … they help me cope.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – help us to learn not to judge and condemn people because of their lifestyles.

Voice 1 10 pm – I sit on a bench and keep Rab company – he looks terrible. Last night a gang of youths beat him up for a laugh. I give him a can and a smoke but we don’t talk – we’ve said it all before.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – help us to appreciate the small acts of kindness which people are capable of.

Voice 1 11 pm – Rab and I set off for the High Street … the soup kitchen will be open soon and with luck I may get a blanket for the night.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – be with those who do your mission throughout our towns and cities.

Voice 1 Midnight – The soup was thick and warm – that’ll do me ‘til tomorrow. No blanket though. I leave Rab and head for my patch outside the pub – people always seem more sympathetic after they’ve been drinking. At the weekends I can make quite a lot of money, enough to last the week … but it’s usually gone by Wednesday.

Voice 2 God, be with all your children – help us try to understand the way others live and seek ways to help people experience the fullness of life which your Son, Jesus Christ, offers to all.

Voice 1 Saturday 1 am – I did well tonight. If you hassle people long enough they’ll usually give you something – especially young people .. They seem to understand. Time to get some sleep. I head for my usual bush in the park … looks like rain.

Voice 2 God, be with your children – help us to learn that we need to do more than hand out coins to those in need. Help us to challenge those structures which force young and old alike on to our streets.

Voice 1 5 am – I wake up wet and cold. The cold seems to race through my aching bones making me shiver uncontrollably. I discard the sodden newspaper which has been my blanket for the night and I walk around to get warm. It’s now that I feel most alone. I’ll feel better when the shops open and I get a drink inside me.

Voice 2 Loving God, be with all your children. Open our eyes so that when we see those in need it is Christ that we see.
John Sanderson

Scotland

———————————————————
Well-fed, Well-clothed

Well-fed, well-clothed, we sing our harvest praise.
We have enough to last through many days,
But starving children cry and are not fed;
They and their parents have no daily bread.

Pot-bellied, gaunt, with great dull eyes they stare,
And mirror the completeness of despair.
With matchstick limbs, listless they move about,
Children too weak to play and laugh or shout.

We who have plenty cannot really share
Their suffering, however much we care,
And everything we do, and all we give,
Is not enough, and millions will not live.

We cannot know, but we can sympathise.
Lord, help us to spread the seeds of hope around,
And teach us how to plant in fertile ground.
Dorothea Sproule

England


not caring
for anything

Prophets in rags
sleeping in our car parks
cooking on open fires
sharing
their food

Prophets in rages
dying in cold winter nights
alone, somewhere
very near

Prophets in rags
many more of them
not far away.
Rudolf Hinz
Germany

Jesus Christ Is Waiting

Jesus Christ is waiting,
Waiting in the streets;
No one is his neighbour,
All alone he eats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am lonely too.
Make me, friend or stranger,
Fit to wait on you.

Jesus Christ is raging,
Raging in the streets,
Where injustice spirals
And real hopes retreat.
Listen, Lord Jesus
I am angry too.
In the Kingdom’s causes
Let me rage with you.

Jesus Christ is healing,
Healing in the streets;
Curing those who suffer,
Touching those he greets.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I have pity too.
Let my care be active,
Healing just like you.

Jesus Christ is dancing,
Dancing in the streets,
Where each sign of hatred
He, with love, defeats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I should triumph too.
On suspicion’s graveyard
Let me dance with you.

Jesus Christ is calling,
Calling in the streets.
‘Who will join my journey?
I will guide their feet.’
Listen, Lord Jesus,
Let my fears be few.
Walk one step before me;
I will follow you.

Graham Maule
Scotland

Poor in Spirit

Lord,
Teach me what it is to be poor
not just poor with the absence
of material wealth
But poor in spirit
the kind of poverty that
will make me empty
and create space for you.
Help me let go of the
false securities, the material props
that are so easy to cling to.
Show me what it is to be truly bereft.
Teach me what it is to be poor –
Then Lord, you will be my all
and my priorities will be in order –
Then lord, I will know what
it is to truly love.
Teach me Lord, show me what it is
to be poor – show me, teach me now!
Carys Humphreys
Wales/Taiwan