is to hear our name spoken aloud
on the lips of another person.
On this past Wednesday night,
people from my church (New Hope in Portland, OR)
went to feed the homeless through the downtown Rescue Mission.
And as usual, the experience was richly rewarding for us all.
However on this night, it became more,
because I recognized one man among the 400 we fed.
We had spent time together
in the Oregon SUMMIT - Boot Camp program
designed to allow us early release from prison
for completing behavioral re-training through the Dept. of Corrections.
At 61, he was the oldest to ever enter & graduate,
and his surly attitude had always made him stand-out,
so much that we often wondered if he could last.
Yet when I approached him at the table,
he recognized me immediately
and a smile grew across his face into a wide grin.
Then I sat down and we caught up;
sharing stories, future hopes, and even some laughs.
In fact, we earned some sideways glances
with the location and timing for our smiles & joy.
Afterward we prayed together.
When the mealtime was done,
I went to search for him in the sanctuary.
And there we shared a special moment
when I told him his name,
and reminded him that he never needs to feel “doomed” again.
So for now my friend, I want you to know I will never forget you,
and should you ever read this I hope you can forgive me
for sharing the privacy of your name,
because, John Brinton,
You are loved by God
and He holds a special place for you
in heaven with Him for all eternity.
And if you are part f John’s blood family, know this -
he is hoping to make his way to you soon in Kentucky.
On my way home, I was teary eyed
for all those who are without loved ones this Christmas.
One thing I want to say to those I gladly served:
I care about you.
When I look you in the eyes
it is because I want you to know
I see you & respect you,
and even if no one says it today,
God knows your name
and you belong to Him.