Come to the Water
There is a program in our area where churches house a dozen or so homeless people during the winter. Each involved church in the State College, PA area does it about 2 weeks for a program called Out of the Cold. They open their doors, feed a hot home cooked meal to people who have registered through local social service agencies. They provide cots, blankets, pillows, and breakfast in the morning. Volunteers eat with them, sleep with them, and wish them well in the morning.
My churches can’t host; we’re a rural group a good 40 minutes out of State College, but we provide occasional meals, and I usually volunteer to be an overnight volunteer a half dozen nights every winter.
From the point of view of the people we host, we hope this means not sleeping outside in sometimes subzero weather. From the point of view of people we host, there is a home cooked dinner and a breakfast, a warm, relatively comfortable place to sleep, and, we hope, an opportunity to relax a little and let the demons of homelessness subside a little.
We hope there is a little nurturance, a little bit of satisfaction, of steadfast love, and of witness, to these people in need of it. Who have little money, to spend on what does not satisfy. We hope we are an invitation like the one mentioned in Isaiah. An invitation to the water, like the one in Isaiah.
God of all your children, help us to be a nurturing and loving presence to all. Help us offer water and food to the thirsty and hungry without money and without price. Your Reign come! Amen.
Julie Holm is the pastor of the Brush Valley Fusion of Faith, a UCC/ELCA rural parish in Rebersburg and Madisonburg, PA. She is the editor of this devotional.
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