He existed in the beginning with God.” -John 1:1-2
Every 9 weeks my work schedule shifts and I have to work a week of overnights and a week of 3-11’s. So with inconvenient train schedules combined with my desire to avoid the subway as the sniffles season begins, at the end of my shift I walk the 2.5 miles to Penn Station. I actually enjoy the walk, because as I zigzag through the streets I get to see people as they’re just starting their day as mine is ending. Something about the look on the faces. Seeing them full of energy and anticipation of the coming day, it’s almost like a temporary boost for me after a long night. But this morning, as I was walking half in a daze like I usually am after the first night, the sound of kids playing snapped me back into reality. As I got closer to the school yard I could see a dozen or so kids playing a baseball like game, next to another large group trying to have conversations over the music they we’re playing. Next was a group of five or six huddled around a phone laughing at some video, I actually found myself smiling thinking how nice it is to be so carefree. Then in the middle of the playground, sitting on the cold asphalt, I saw one kid. His phone in one hand and his face in the other, it was heartbreaking. I mean there was at least 50 kids there and no one was talking to him. I don’t know if it was the dad in me ,but it took everything not to start yelling to the other kids to include him…the reality that I’d look crazy and that kid probably would’ve been embarrassed kept me at bay. So as I walked by I said a quick prayer and hoped that he had friends that were just running late.
So I’m sure like most people as of late, I’ve been following the Catholic Bishop Synod on the Amazon that’s taking place right now at the Vatican…for the few of you who I’m sure are totally embarrassed for not knowing, the Synod is a gathering of Catholic Bishop’s that takes place every three years, that’s purpose is to discuss and counsel the Pope on a specific topic. This year is the Pan-Amazon region.
It’s been a long day, following a long week so bare with me. Anyone whose ever spent any time in (I’m assuming) any major city has come across someone asking for change. Just a few minutes ago I was on the R train in trying to will the train faster to 34th St so I could run to Penn Station and make my train home when a gentleman stepped on the train, not poorly dressed or dirty, and with a somber and exhausted voice began to tell anyone in ear shot how he had lost his job but was working again but at the moment he and his family were living in a room. Although happy to be able to keep his family together, they have no means of cooking or storing food so everyday they have to buy food to eat.
In all the years I’ve worked in New York I’ve seen so many panhandlers who strategically sit in high tourist spots to try and scam people, but as he walked past me through the car I thought what if he’s telling the truth?
I mean I know I’ve been in tough spots in my life, and I thank God that I never had beg for money. But if it came to it, what wouldn’t I have done for my family. Who wouldn’t do anything for their family?
Reaching into my pocket I felt the change from a coffee I had bought earlier. Hey! Excuse me, I yelled as he nearing the far end of the car. Here you go. God bless buddy. You’d have thought that the dollar and change I handed him was so much more by his expression. As he walked back, suddenly other people started handing him money. Almost like they just didn’t want to be the first person. As he got halfway he stopped, looked at me, and mouthed thank you.
In the end I was able to forget for just a moment about the stresses from the last few days and do something for someone and be the catalyst for others to do the same. Maybe it was a lie, but in my heart and in my gut it wasn’t, and if there is even just a chance that some kids somewhere might not have to go to bed hungry tonight it brought me peace…and it cost me a dollar.
So a few days ago my wife Kerri and I went away for a couple of days for her birthday. And often it’s in times like these, when my mind is seemingly deafened with the noise of life that I hear God’s voice the clearest.
Demons. The Holy Spirit.
Two phrases, two different topics, one focus. Let me explain.
So I’m going to back up to the middle of last week, I was reading an article about a pro-abortion protest where these people were burning baby dolls…a bit graphic and a lot crazy if you ask me…but I digress. After finishing the article I started reading through the comments and saw a lot of satan this, and the devil that response’s. Truth of the matter is I didn’t really think much of it, probably agreed on a subconscious level. Flash forward to Friday morning and as I’m driving listening to to the radio talking with Kerri when out of nowhere it hits me…
When people see bad things happening they immediately want to blame the devil or an evil spirit. Now I whole heartedly believe that there are dark forces at work in this world trying to undo and corrupt everything that is good, I also believe the decisions and actions we make are our own. When we do something good are we being controlled by God or an Angel or are we consciously making the decision to do the right thing. To live and act as Jesus taught us. After the last supper when Jesus went to Gethsemane He prayed that God would let this cup pass from me because He knew what was going to happen and He was afraid but he also knew that He, like all of us must choose to do God’s will. It wasn’t the devil that made the Pharisees or even Judas betray Jesus, it was things like greed and fear. That’s why Jesus forgave them. Even today we fear self accountability. One of the many gifts and blessings we have is free will. But it’s also one of the hardest things for us to endure because it’s having this ability to choose that forces us to pick the right path, and not necessarily the easiest. Since Friday I’ve been thinking about this, and the simplicity of it makes me stop writing and read more scripture because I’m the type of person who when presented with something that I should have seen sooner feels the need to look for a more complex situation to justify my own ignorance but unfortunately that’s not how this works. We, as Christians, have a tendency to feel like we have time…I’ll change that tomorrow, I’m not ready to forgive…., I swear this is the last time I …. and we do have time, until the day comes that we don’t! The excuse that one person can’t do anything is only true because we allow it to…maybe we want it to because it’s easier. We as a people have to come to a point where we stop blaming the devil or God, for the things happening in this world and be the champions of our faith that we were asked to be. With faith..true Faith, can anything truly stand in our way?
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?-Romans 8:31
But let me ask you, can one Christian stand up to everyone who chooses to attack or try to change our faith? That would be ugly…like trying to stop a river with one stone…well how about a thousand stones, or a million stones…what if today all 2.2 billion Christians stepped into that river? It only sounds crazy because no one wants to be the first stone.
Thanks for listening, I’ll be writing the next part in the next day or so…until then remember to be the light for others and to live the faith. God bless