ANNUAL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN IS COMING
With the Nightwatch fiscal year beginning in June, our annual fundraising campaign will soon be here. Watch for it.
We are most grateful to those who in the course of the campaign elect to become Lamplighters—donors to Nightwatch who commit themselves to contributing to Nightwatch on a regular basis, e.g. monthly, quarterly, etc. The amount of those regular donations doesn’t matter; they could be as little as $5 at a time. One becomes a Lamplighter simply by making their donations steady and dependable. The steady income provided by our Lamplighers always proves to be a Godsend during the times of year when contributions are typically lean.
Look for more information about the campaign in May.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR INTERN
Today, I was sitting in the back office doing typical intern work on my computer. Headphones in and music playing loud, I was completely in the working mindset familiar to many modern people: attempting to give complete focus to the task at hand by tuning out the rest of the world.
Consequently, I barely heard one of our guests trying to get my attention at the door.
When I noticed him, I pulled off my headphones and asked if I could help him with anything. He needed wheels for the cart he uses to carry his belongings, and when I couldn't help, I expected him to thank me and move on. However, as many of our guests do, he stopped to chat, and ended up providing me with a really important insight. He talked about his frustrations with the ways that we've become "a generation of devices", where people are so engrossed in technology that they no longer know how to communicate with one another. He expressed nostalgia for a past era where people on the street would greet one another, and take genuine interest in each other's lives.
He quickly left me to my work, and as I sat, reflecting, I realized how Nightwatch is one of the few places in my life not dominated by that concerning communication dynamic. I feel so grateful to be a part of a community that thrives on authentic, person to person communication. Whether it's a smile and a "how are you?" in line for coffee or a multi-hour discussion of current activism on the Portland streets, I can always count on my time at Operation Nightwatch to provide fulfillment of the true human connectedness kind.
CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “Loving Our Enemies”
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
If we imagined someone completely unlike ourselves, who would that person be? How would they look and act? What would they wear? What language would they speak? Would we ever be able to ask them for help? Could we ever love such a person?
These questions puzzle us into silence. Try as we might to imagine someone completely unlike ourselves, such a person remains an unknown quantity. They can exist in theory, but love happens in practice. When Jesus invites us to love our enemies, he is in fact inviting us to know them. We cannot love what or whom we do not know.
Playing password with “enemy” might yield synonyms such as terrorist, jihadist, cyber attacker, someone “over there.” As Jesus presents it, however, an enemy can be a neighbor who is poor or ill, who has suffered physical or emotional trauma—but who remains unknown to us.
We may have strong opinions about this neighbor, but we cannot love until we know them.
Something marvelous happens as we get to know our guests. It hap-pens to them—and to us. It happened to me recently at a Bible study. As we began cleanup, a young guest who had been rather noisy and detached during the session rushed up to me to ask for prayer. I listened to the painful details, then grasped the mittened hands across the table. Tears flowed freely as I of-fered the quiet words the Spirit gave me. Unknowing dissolved into some-thing else. Perhaps it was the closest thing to love the guest had experienced all day, all week, all year. Jesus, you nailed it! Amen.