Tonight at church we honored (yet another) staff person who was being laid off--Allen Belton. He directed a Reconciliation and Mentoring Program and collaborated with other urban ministries throughout Seattle. John Perkins sent him a farewell message, along with at least five other famous/cool people. So he's a pretty big deal. :)
Anyway, there was a really lovely moment at the end of the service, all about warm and fuzzy spiritual matters, and then we headed upstairs to chow down on BBQ. Delish. The Gospel Choir (what I like to call the Soul of UPC) got up to sing, and it was a clappity, happity party. And through the crowd I saw a homeless man, who had probably come in for dinner, since that's what happens every other Sunday night, and he was BEAMING. Bopping his head, grinning. He kept turning his head to stare out at the crowd (at least 500 people, packed), and he just smiled the biggest rickety smile!
So in that moment of warm and fuzzy spirituality, I suddenly realized that the warm fuzzies were contagious, and that this man who may not feel all that welcome in most places he walks, he felt a little bit of joy singing along with us tonight. He was part of the crowd, the laughing, clapping, bopping crowd that hummed and sang. And it was all in celebration of one man's life work and the joy he brought to our community. The zest that sometimes lacks in place that is in and out Presbyterian. So Allen, for all the times you called me Sister Harris, for all the times you broke in SONG, for all the ways you have showed UPC another corner of the world, and for all the disenfranchised people you welcomed in when the rest of us looked away, I'll sure miss you.