, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I found this on a thumb drive.  Not everything made it to the dumpster.


I have been homeless for 3 of the past five years.  The past two are consecutive.  Of those, all except  the past 6 months have been spent literally in the street.  Picnic tables, benches, bare ground and concrete sidewalks were my bed.  The sky was my roof.  At this time, I am staying in an enclosed space by the grace and love of my friend, but the time will soon come when I will return to the street.  When the weather begins to warm again, in late Winter or early Spring?  Most probably.

About thirteen months ago, I was on the street.  I shouldered a knapsack and lugged a tote bag that carried food and toiletries and my writing gear.  It was at that time, that I wrote the following.  It was titled then “Sermons on the Hill,” and I reprint it and share it for the first time now.

Sermons on the Hill

I sit and write my sermons in a spiral notebook that rests on a table of concrete.  My seat is a backless bench of the same cold and unforgiving material. Both sit on a high hill.  The average time of composition is 3:00 a.m.  It is that time now.  A highway runs by the base of my hill.  Traffic never ceases, but does diminish.

At 3:00 a.m., as I pen these words, the occasional car or semi-truck whizzes by below.  I can look down on their roofs and at the long spears of their high-beams and the twinkle of tail lights as they quickly disappear into the night.  I can count on two or three flashing, wailing emergency vehicles each and every night as I sit and scribble words, essays, and sermons urged on by compulsion and inspiration of the Spirit.  To what purpose, I do not know.

I want to believe that these words will reach the eyes or ears of those who need to know the goodness and love of God.

I want to believe that these words will inspire others to seek their own revelatory wisdom.

I want to believe that readers will come to know and accept the love and salvation that surrounds them and anxiously waits for them to but open the doors of their hearts.

I want to believe!  Oh Lord!  Help me in my unbelief!!

As Autumn progresses and Winter approaches, the nights grow colder.  Soon the days will be cold.  A parking lot floodlight illuminates my efforts.  The cricket chirping becomes louder as the traffic noise decreases.  I praise God for natural sound.

My ass is sore from the concrete.  I stand and walk about.  I walk to the head of the slope and look down on the roadway.  Up here, high above it, I am its Lord.  I am king of all I see and a peasant to every man, woman and child.

So much of my existence has been spent — on foot — traveling highways such as this.  From Virginia to Colorado to Florida to Washington the District of Columbia.  They are all the same, all important and completely insignificant.  I turn and look back at my desk al fresco.  My two vagabond bags sit on one cold concrete bench  The desktop is neatly arranged with my writing tools.  The other bench waits patiently and expectantly for the return of my tired and unwilling posterior.

Nowhere to go and no time to be there, I saunter back to my office.  Standing, I turn my book to face me and read some of what I wrote.  A thought, related or not, arises and I speak it aloud.  I pause and meditate and read some more,  I speak again, with more volume and to more extent.  Soon, I am preaching and pacing around my hilltop.  As the Spirit informs, so I give utterance.  To the cold night air and to the crickets, I preach.  If the crickets shut up to listen, I don’t know.  I am louder than they are.

Five minutes, ten minutes, more — I’m done.  I walk back to the edge and meditate once more while gazing over the slope and roadway.  I turn back and walk and sit.  I begin to write once more; my shoulders hunched against the cold.

May God give you warmth, shelter, prosperity and most of all peace.  May your spirit, encased as it is in human flesh, know God as close as corporeality will allow.  May the Lord guide me to his flock or his flock to me so that I might fulfill my shepherding duties.  Amen.

A cup of coffee sure would be nice too.  I can get that for myself.