(I hope everyone has come through the storm last night safely - perhaps it makes the latter part of this post especially relevant. Just imagine having no home in all the rain and wind we had here in Kent last night.)
Today we come to the end of our Advent exploration of what it means to be at home, to travel home, to make a home for ourselves and others, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is our home and our welcome. As this poem by George Herbert reminds us, the essence of home is love, and where love is, there is God.
|LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,|
|Guilty of dust and sin.|
|But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack|
|From my first entrance in,|
|Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning||5|
|If I lack'd anything.|
|'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'|
|Love said, 'You shall be he.'|
|'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,|
|I cannot look on Thee.'||10|
|Love took my hand and smiling did reply,|
|'Who made the eyes but I?'|
|'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame|
|Go where it doth deserve.'|
|'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'||15|
|'My dear, then I will serve.'|
|'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'|
| So I did sit and eat.|
George Herbert. 1593–1632
As you listen to John Tavener's setting of this poem, you can read about and pray for the work of Crisis (below) . Over the coming days Crisis will be inviting many guests to "sit and eat", giving them at least a little of the sense of being "at home" that so many of us take for granted.
When you’re homeless, Christmas can be the toughest time of all for someone like Ben, for him Crisis at Christmas was a lifesaver. The odds were stacked against him from the start. He was shunted from foster home to care home and then went from one insecure job to the next – until, aged just 27, he found himself on the street last winter.
“The cold just sinks into you,” he remembers. “I was struggling even to walk. My body was proper giving up on me.”
On Christmas Eve, Ben met someone who told him about Crisis at Christmas. Your gift could give someone like Ben the warmest welcome they could hope for, a hearty Christmas dinner, good company and friendly faces, and the chance to take advantage of a whole range of services to help with housing, gaining skills and finding work.
“I wouldn’t have had a Christmas if it wasn’t for Crisis.”
Please reserve a place for someone like Ben. Thank you.- See more at: http://community.crisis.org.uk/reserve#sthash.S3n9UXuP.dpuf
One place at Crisis at Christmas provides...
- welcoming support from people who really care
- three nutritious, hot meals including Christmas dinner
- the chance to shower and change clothes, have a haircut and get a health check
- expert advice on life-changing issues like housing and employment
- an introduction to Crisis year-round services for training and support for the future
Please reserve as many places as you can this year
- See more at: http://community.crisis.org.uk/reserve#sthash.S3n9UXuP.dpuf