I certainly did not expect to have a meaningful theological discussion with a man who lived in the bushes near the pavilion on the Florida beach where we held Pilot’s brother’s memorial service.
But that’s exactly what happened as the mourners who filled the pavilion shuffled off after Tom’s paddle out this past June.
As Tom’s service unfolded with dinner beneath the pavilion following the paddle out, Steve and others with nowhere else to go waited respectfully nearby. I saw them watching us, and realized the pavilion we occupied must be where they spent their days. Probably even their nights. Each man carried his possessions in backpacks or strapped to their bicycles.
After most people left to go home, the back area of the pavilion opened up, and one by one the homeless men reclaimed their space.
While I picked up flowers from one table near the back, Steve approached pushing his bike beside him.
He paused, and asked why all the people were there. I explained about Tom. He offered his condolences, we shook hands and introduced ourselves.
It was then God opened the door for the two of us to have a conversation about the One who fights for us; Jesus Christ, God’s son.
Steve and I talked for awhile about his life and things he dealt with on a daily basis. I’m really not sure how we got around to talking about the Bible, but I do know it was a natural progression within our discussion. As Steve and I shared scripture back and forth, I found myself envious of his ability to quote massive sections of scripture from all over the Bible.
I do remember one verse I shared. I’m sharing it with you today. It’s the verse I started, Steve joined me in, and both completed together.
It’s the last verse we quoted before I shook his hand again, wished him the best, and promised to pray for him; which I have done.
But I should have prayed with him right there on the spot as well.
Because Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb who was slain for all, tore the curtain which separated mankind from the throne of God, we can boldly approach God knowing he is there, and welcomes each and everyone of us who come through his Son.
There is now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus, the One who fights for us, no matter who we are, or where we lay our heads at night.
Amen and amen and amen. Thank you Jesus.
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So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)
I wish you well.
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