Trinity-Living and Experiencing Homelessness
Homelessness is on the rise in our region, especially among families. 3.5 million Americans will experience homelessness and 1.5 million of those are children. According to the National Coalition for Homelessness, in the last 20-25 years, the 2 major factors for the rise of those experiencing homelessness are a shortage of affordable housing and an increase in overall poverty. We see this reality all around us, in our neighborhoods, church, school, and in the many the other places we call community.
This Sunday as we celebrate Trinity Sunday, I think the Trinity has something to say about how we relate to those who experience homelessness and how we as God’s creatures should seek to relate to one another. In the Trinity, we see the the three parts (or beings) of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, existing in perfect union with one another. Each part of the Trinity perfectly indwells another part of the Trinity. Though they are different and distinct, they are all One. We confess that this One and Three, Three in One God, is a concrete God very much alive and active in the world.
Theologian Jurgen Moltmann says that the New Testament witness, the story of the gospel is “the great love story of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, a divine love story in which all are involved together with heaven and earth.”
It is this love-story for the world that drives this perfect unity existing from creation to revelation, from birth to death, and from the experience of being a creaturely being on Earth to seeking to being part of God’s kingdom here on Earth. We too are to strive to live in perfect harmony with one another.
We, of course, are fallen sinful creatures who clearly don’t live in perfect harmony with one another. We do all kinds of things we shouldn’t — thinking not so good things about even those we love the most – and doing all the things we know we shouldn’t do – lying, cheating, boasting….But just because we don’t live in harmony doesn’t mean that we should try. Affirming the power of the God who created and continues to create new life, the power of God who did a NEW and AMAZING thing in Jesus Christ, and the every powerful force of the Holy Spirit, we too can lean into Trinity-LIVING with one another.
I hope we can experience a bit of Trinity-Living this Sunday, as we gather with the children, youth and participating adults to learn about what it means to be experiencing homelessness here in DC. We will learn some facts about experiencing homelessness, hear stories of being homeless in DC, and have a chance to make a personal care-kit and a card for someone experiencing homelessness. These time together will hopefully serve as an entry point to lean a a little further into our calling to see God’s good creation in every being and to stretch ourselves into new relationships modeled after the relationships of God.
Here is the plan for the children-youth-parent-teacher contingent for 5/22:
Learning-Serving-Shining Together (plan for 5/22)
This Sunday, 5/22, we will learn more about what it is like to be homeless in the city and how those of us who live with homes might be both a beacon of hope and a source of mutual friendship waiting to blossom.
Worship Play: We will start with this pray for centering from Prayer for Heart and Body by Thomas Ryan (found by Kathryn Sparks):
hands in prayer position
inhale, up, God above us
exhale, side, God beside us
inhale to the heart, God within us
exhale, forward, God before us
hands in prayer position
We will then story of The Good Samaritan Neighbor from Luke 10. We will talk how the Samaritan was a good neighbor, and how we might be good neighbors for all of our neighbors — those with enough and those without enough. Afterward, we will read some stories about being different.
- I will introduce statistics experiencing homelessness from the National Coalition for Homelessness here in DC.
- We will assemble personal care kits to be donated to the Radcliffe Room homeless outreach ministry in our church. The youth may take a few for their service project at the Church of the Pilgrims (The Pilgrimage) in August. We will talk about personal care items and what they use in day. The children will make personal care kits (hopefully soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, chapstick, snack) in each bag they decorate.
- For those 3rd grade and up, we have a special speaker from the Radcliffe Room ministry and from the Speakers Bureau for the National Coalition for Homelessness on the experience of being homeless. I will interview her with some questions. (Those who are younger are welcome to come with a parent or other trusted adult.)
- For those in 2nd grade and under, we will begin to decorate the personal care kits and have a story time about God’s Dream for the world.
- If there is time, we will all have a tour of the Radcliffe Room and help hang up clothes together.
I hope you are able to join for this special time together to learn and experience how, through the Trinity, we are deeply connected to one another.
-Peace and blessings,