- I will never forget my first experience serving as a volunteer in a homeless shelter. After I was trained, I was assigned a three hour shift on a Sunday night at a church not far from the church where I served as pastor. My shift was to be from 8PM till 11PM. I helped to register the homeless persons as they arrived. Each one received a foam pad for a mattress, a small pillow, a sheet and a blanket. After they received their gear, we took them into the fellowship hall where they were to sleep on the floor.
There was a row of tables and chairs dividing the room. Men slept on one side and women and children on the other. No children registered that evening, but one young woman was in the late stages of pregnancy. Before my shift was through her labor pains had started and an ambulance had been called to take her to the hospital.
In all, about twenty-five persons came to the shelter on that cold November evening. Most of them were young men in their twenties and thirties. It was evident that they all knew each other, probably because they had sheltered together before on the street and in the churches after the shelter program began. A few of the men were quiet and kept to themselves, but several of them gathered around a large African American man named Bill, who seemed to be a kind of leader in the group. They shared a warm camaraderie that was a joy to behold. They did not have homes and, in most cases jobs, but they had each other and clearly enjoyed one another’s company...
- ("Pastor William L. Stidger tells the story of a man in his congregation who served in the Navy during World War II. One night, this man was running his transport across the Atlantic when he noticed the white trail of a torpedo coming toward him. His ship was manned by hundreds of soldiers; the potential loss of life would have been devastating..." and several other illustrations)
- ("During World War II, the Red Cross made blood available to all who needed it - ally or enemy. The Red Cross would also provide the soldier with the name of the donor so that, if he wanted, he could write a letter or note of thanks. A custom developed among medics in the European theater that if a Nazi officer needed blood, they would find a Jewish donor..." and other illustrations)
- "The earliest memory I have of my father is one of me as a young boy grabbing his hand and him guiding me along as we walked together. I'll always remember that. I remember the times when my father would bring his bread truck by the house early in the morning on those cold days when I was home from school over Christmas break..."
- ("in Jesus we see God taking human life upon himself, facing our human situation, struggling with our human problems, battling with our human temptations and working out our human relationships. So it is as if Jesus says to us: 'Feed your heart, feed your mind and feed your soul on the thought that when you are discouraged and in despair, when you are beaten to your knees and disgusted with life and living, remember that I took that life of yours and these struggles of yours upon myself.'...")
- (lots of good stuff here!!)
- ("Suppose you spent years to perfect your skill at a certain sport and then you're there at the World Championships for that sport and you take Gold! You bring the medal home, all of your friends and relatives want to see it, so you have a busy few months ahead. But a day comes when you come back to your car to find that it's been broken into, window smashed - no medal....")
- ("Maybe our Eucharist reflects increasingly modern family life. We shouldn't expect Sunday Mass in the 21st Century to be given the same rapt attention and devotion as in the past. It's a mirror image of our time-poor age. Our families meet less often and usually with somebody absent. Some meals are 20 minute "wolf it down" affairs with arrangements made quickly as to who is going where and when...")
- ("This week I listened to a program on Radio National about the development in the fifties and sixties of gospel music into rock music. Apparently Ray Charles was the first musician to take the gospel he knew from Church, and basically by speeding it up, changed it into what we now know as soul music. He didn't only change the tune though, he also changed the words...")
- ("I had never been present with someone dying until I took my Clinical Pastoral Education unit in the summer of 1985 at Goldwater Hospital. That hospital housed several hundred patients that had been moved there from Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan who had incurable spinal or brain problemsâsome due to accidents, some due to diseases...")
- ("Carroll Hinderlie was a missionary to the Philippines when the Japanese drove out Macarthur and took over the islands. He and his pregnant wife were among the many who were thrown into a concentration camp. They saw each other through the wire fence that separated the men’s and women’s compounds..." and other illustrations)
- ("You can't help but wonder if the Gospel passage took place today and Jesus uttered 'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven' – the response may be a shoulder shrug and a lethal 'so'. Accompanied by it's first cousin 'so what' - these are two little words every parent dreads to hear...")
- ("Marie-Louise Ternier-Gomers says it this way: 'That’s Eucharist: in Jesus, we eat and drink God’s love in big gulps, without reserve, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. In turn we grow free -- as Jesus did -- to allow God to claim our lives, to bless our lives, to break our lives in the name of Love...")
- ("when I was in seventh grade, we were asked to read an essay in English class by Jonathan Swift called A Modest Proposal. And that essay produced an intense reaction of horror in all of us that I'll never forget. I don't know how many of you are familiar with that particular essay, so let me offer a short summary...." and another illustration)
- ("Not only in pastoral visits but also, and even more so, in the celebration of the sacraments, we need to be aware of the importance of a ministry of absence. This is very central in the Eucharist. What do we do there? We eat bread, but not enough to take our hunger away; we drink wine, but not enough to take our thirst away...")
- ("The true story is told of a woman named Robinson Kate who lived in the early 1900’s. She found herself to be worth over $5,000,000. Kate could have led an easy life with that amount of money, but she chose to live as a vagrant, wearing horrible clothes, begging for food, and living in an unheated, dilapidated apartment...")
- ("Years ago I was on what might be called the 'fringe' of catholic Christianity, enjoying hearing Presbyterian sermons but feeling something was missing. I chanced to go to a Roman Catholic Church one Sunday evening and found in its Eucharist something that seemed to fill my soul like nothing else...")
- ("Perhaps you know of Rocky. His photograph was in the newspaper a little over a week ago. The tomato plant that was growing in his garden is yielding more tomatoes than ever before. Rocky has had to take special care of that tomato plant because he realizes the health of the tomatoes depend on the health of the vine...")
- ("I was very close to my grandfather growing up. He had immigrated to the United States from Canada and I called him Pepere. We used to spend hours and hours in his workshop, and he taught me how to operate a drill press and a lathe, and how to use calipers...")
- When I read a piece entitled "A Baloney Sandwich" by Bob Benson in See You At The House (1) recently, I was reminded of some of the church picnics I attended when living on my own. Benson's experience was so similar to mine that we could have been at the same picnics. Like him, I would get ready to pack my picnic lunch, go to the refrigerator and find a dried up piece of baloney and just enough mustard in the jar so that I got it all over my knuckles trying to get to it. I would add a couple of slices of stale bread, put it in a brown paper bag and head off to the picnic. When it came time to eat I would more than likely find myself sitting beside some people who it seemed had been preparing food for this picnic for the past week. They had fried chicken, potato salad, green salads, homemade rolls, pies, and cake. If that wasn't enough they had a few things like hamburgers and hot dogs that they could throw on the BBQ. They would spread this feast out next to my baloney sandwich.
- from the Daily Study Bible