Faith In The Cold

Author: Jess Gannon

Picture: Pixabay

Faith In The Cold

Channel 4's Christmas homelessness report highlighted a major problem. Jess Gannon encounters the homeless and considers the meaning of true worship.

One Hope Project is a community of worshippers who gather for fellowship and to explore creativity and worship.

When I think of worship, the mind’s eye immediately wanders towards images of singing or dancing with hands in the air. However, it is so much more than that.

We have been reflecting recently what it means to worship. Worship is defined as ‘adoration of a deity’.  

As well as outwardly expressing our love through songs to the Father, our worship must also include adoring aspects of God that have found a home in each of us.

Jesus perfectly personifies this. He loved radically, to the point that he was seemingly blind to the prejudices and systems in society.

He frequently spent time with those on the fringes of society, such as tax collectors, prostitutes and lepers.

He viewed them through eyes of compassion, and treated them as individuals, as children of God, as opposed to the labels they had been given.

Our worship can extend outside of our comfort zones and spill out onto the streets and our daily lives.

In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says: ‘Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Here is part of the Channel 4 homelessness report:

No Agenda

Our outreach team recently organised a homeless outreach evening in London.

Without an agenda to give food or pray for people, we simply went out to meet those people with whom Jesus wants us to spend time.

It is so easy to encounter God in the vulnerable, for that is where His mercy and compassion are evident.

As we shared stories and time together, I was inspired by the openness, acceptance and laughter of the people we encountered.

I was struck by the fact that we were the ones who received so much, as we sought to put Jesus’ words into practice.

I met a young man who had been living on the street for a year. Initially he was quite closed off and I felt quite nervous speaking to him.

However, throughout our time together, he opened up and shared more of himself with us.

Eventually, when we came back with food for him, he put the food to the side and allowed us to continue speaking to him.

I honestly feel that we received more from hearing him speak than we provided for him with food.

Dependency and Vulnerability

The encounter was a massive learning experience for me.

It made me realise that nervousness creates a barrier between us. In an amazing way, he modelled the dependency and vulnerability Jesus taught.

My conversation with him left me feeling inspired to model that openness to others in my daily life.

There is an assumption that those living on the streets must want something, yet not one of them asked us for anything.

The homeless are so much more than a cause that needs help. They are simply individuals looking for purpose, worth and community.

It is beautiful that we can all provide that for each other.

Radical Love

Worship is simply acknowledging and encountering the presence of God.

Our worship can be as simple as a smile or a ‘good morning’ to someone we pass by.

If we passed a family member on the street, would we ignore them and walk past? Of course not. That is how God feels about everyone.

When we seek to encounter God, He can inspire those feelings of radical love in us.

Our lives were created to be acts of worship, which means acknowledging the Spirit of God at work in ourselves and others.

We are beginning to discover that to love others is to worship God.

Worship is not just singing songs, but seeking to meet God in everything we do. 

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