Posted by: Dan | December 5, 2004

Dinner for Sixty

For the first time since moving out here I felt like I was home. Home in the way that usually only those who have been homeless can understand it. Yes, this is where I belong. I felt like I was with family. These are my people. These are my kids. I was glowing. Those who know me well would have recognised the look in my eyes, “Uh-oh… Dan’s in love.”

And I am. I love these kids. These gutter-punks, thugs, queers, loners, trannies, junkies, prostitutes, and crack-heads. I love ’em. They burst through the door decked out in chains and trench-coats, bandannas and diamond earrings. A flash of leather and teeth, steel and skin. Bruises, pock-marks, scars and unwashed hair. I think to myself, “how can so much beauty fit into this room? God, these kids are beautiful.”

So I wait on them, I bring food to their tables and clean their dirty dishes. I laugh at their jokes, not politely but like a lover – it doesn’t seem to matter how funny the joke is, it’s just a delight to be in the presence of your beloved and any excuse to laugh will do. It’s good to laugh with these kids. God knows they’ve spent enough time crying.

You know, when all is said and done, I think that love is all that I have to give. I used to read stories from the Bible about all sorts of miracles. I used to long see those things happen in my own life, you know, some dynamic in-breaking of God’s power to heal the sick, to restore the down-trodden. I’m not really looking for the miraculous anymore. I’m just looking to journey in love relationships with the down-trodden. I am content to only have my love to offer, as imperfect as it is.

The funny thing is that, in the end, it is through love that the truly miraculous occurs. It’s this strange paradox of surrendering to powerlessness and, in doing so, discovering the power that truly transforms the world. It’s a hard line to walk and an even harder line to describe to others. To embrace love as the only thing I have to offer is to recognise weakness. It highlights all sorts of limitations. Yet, at the same time, I am convinced that love will triumph over all else. It’s victory, but not in the way we are accustomed to thinking of it. It is the victory we discover in the character of the God who loves us deeply enough to come alongside of us. The God who embraces weakness and suffers with us… so that we will be set free.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
– Paul, 1 Corinthians 13.13

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