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Friday, November 11, 2016

Today’s Hymn            

Jesus calls us: oe’r the tumult
of our life’s wild, restless sea;
day by day his sweet voice soundeth
saying, “Christian, follow me.”

Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world’s golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying, “Christian, love me more.”

Cecil Frances Alexander’s “Jesus Calls Us”
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Fr. Gregory Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, founded a gang-intervention ministry in Los Angeles called Homeboy Industries. I was lucky to visit the Homeboy headquarters during a service trip in college and was amazed by the countless services and programming offered to young men and women who wanted a second chance at employment, education, and a positive community.

Beyond providing the “homeboys” and “homegirls” with alternatives like a stable job, the ministry offers redemption, acceptance, and love—intangible gifts that so many of the men and women have forgotten or been denied, and it is often the lack thereof that led them to temporarily choose gang life.

As “Fr. G” recounts, society is quick to judge the homeboys and homegirls for their decisions, their appearance, and their lifestyle. But the memoirs he shares tell stories of lost loved ones, isolation, shame, and desperation. And choosing a different path, and a loving community like Homeboy Industries, quickly transforms and heals the heart. People feel whole again.

“Sometimes resilience arrives in the moment you discover your own unshakeable goodness,” says Fr. Greg, in a moving statement that captures the power within us to transform and to find the goodness we often think we’ve lost forever.

As we reflect on today’s hymn, we are reminded that despite what society tells us and what we tell ourselves, Christ continues to call us home and remind us we are indefinitely loved. We will definitely feel shame, self-doubt, despair, and rejection along the way. But we must remember through the most desperate of times, Christ is with us on our journey home to unconditional love and acceptance.

Jesus, when I find myself straying from your path, guide me toward your peaceful and forgiving presence. Remind me your love is more precious and bountiful than anything worldly my heart may long for here on earth. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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