Tuesday, December 21, 2010

HOMELESS MEMORIAL DAY

Continuing in the "Unsettling Advent" series

The first day of winter is designated Homeless Memorial Day in Indianapolis.  On this day, we have a memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle to honor all who died in our city because of homelessness in 2010.  We light a candle and toll the bell for each, and one more for those known only to God.  We also recognize those who serve in our city to intervene, end and prevent homelessness.  Along with solemnly naming names of those who were lost on the streets, we share stories of breakthrough and hope and challenge one another and our civic so-called leaders to redouble our efforts to end this horrendous reality.

You need not participate in the Homeless Memorial Service to honor homeless neighbors dead or living.  Use your imagination a little.  What can you do to make a difference for those who are homeless today?  Think not just in terms of relief and comfort, but in terms of investment for prevention, challenging status quo and system changes.  Homelessness is the prolonged and chronic reality is has become for many, is preventable.

Here, in the latter days of Advent, comes the recollection that most of the world overlooks and does not welcome--or even recognize as valid, worthy or human--those who are homeless and strangers.  We come to the realization that Jesus was born homeless.  Our heart preparation to receive the Christmas gift must include grappling with this reality.  Only as we do so, it seems to me, can we move forward with any sense of joyful mission and challenged calling.

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