Good News from the Poor

NightChurch 24/02/24

In his book ‘Faith in Dark Places’, David Rhodes challenges us, saying “We are so conditioned by our inherited model of religion that we instinctively think of the Gospel as being for the churchgoer, which often means the respectable and well behaved.”

I was sitting with Jacob (all names have been changed) at NightChurch. He and his companion have been homeless and nomadic for many years. They have walked the South West Coastpath a number of times. “I don’t like religion”, he said, “But I do know God.”
I asked Jacob how he and his companion looked after themselves, given that they have lived on the road for so so long. I wondered whether he had known pit stops of support which they travelled between. He explained, “We take each day a new. We never know what it will bring, where we will go or how we’ll be fed. But we speak to God each day and ask for help and he has never let us down.”
I commented that it reminded me of the verse about ‘many sparrows’ and ‘birds of the field’, “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns” he quoted.
He told me that having no possessions and relying solely on God to sustain you “Sets you free”.

On a similar note, Jeduthun, who has been a Rastafarian for over forty years, advocated a life of simplicity. He is vegetarian, loves music, and promotes love and peace. He avoids screens and the internet where possible.
Rhodes states

“While the good news may be for the poor, it is not doled out to them like a skid row soup kitchen dishing out hot food. The Gospel is not lived out to the poor but with the poor…Jesus ate and drank with the poor: he enjoyed their company. They were his friends and family – his loved ones.”

One of the volunteers, who had been part of some of these conversations reflected “I always seem to learn something here.”
I wonder, like Rhodes, how our worldview would be flipped and our perceptions changed, if we realised that what Jesus wanted to reveal to us was that “The Gospel may not only be good news for the poor…it may also be good news from the poor.

Bright blessings, Alice

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