Today we pray for those among us
who seek shelter every day.
Home is gone for them, for many reasons;
addiction, mental illness, violence,
or they just couldn’t pay the rent.
Evicted or just drifting, they wander.
Some live in their vehicle,
holding on to suitcases of possessions.
Others have left it all behind,
and with a bag or two
go to shelters for a meal or a bed.
Others sleep rough, under bridges,
or in the hedges around the city.
People of no address,
they are forgotten by every social safety net.
No healthcare, no safety, few options.
These are the ones who are precious and loved in your sight.
You don’t lose track.
We see them sitting on the park benches,
or avoiding the cold in stairwells or subway cars.
God of miracles, can you change this “us and them”?
Can we call each other by name;
Jason, Mike, Emma, Rick, Carol?
As your children, can we meet and hear stories?
Instead of only a handout, can we sit together,
lamenting what is lost, acknowledging resourcefulness.
From those with homes,
take away smugness and superiority,
and every hero complex of wanting to rescue those
we objectify into “the homeless”.
Open those who have plenty, to share it.
For those who are seeking shelter,
give courage and stamina.
When hope is hard to find,
help them find it.
For safety, for friends,
for community on the way,
we give thanks.
You identify with all who have
nowhere to lay their head.
You are with them this night,
you are with them every night. Amen.