It’s that time of year again. We can use blankets and cold weather clothes for men. Last week we distributed two car loads of clothing, shoes, and a few blankets on the street. Most of these were from St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church in Pennsburg, PA. Thanks!
We need more. A few weeks ago, a really large man found himself on the street with nothing but the clothes on his back. He helps us serve. He has a gentle demeanor. He wears 5X. I know somebody is going to read this who has been fretting over where they were going to dispose of these 5x sweatshirts and super large pants that fell into their possession. Stranger things have happened.
Sometime in the mid ‘90s, a couple of volunteers told me they wanted to serve The King’s Jubilee with a ministry of finding and procuring things. So I called Ora Love who coordinated a tutoring and outreach ministry in Richard Allen Homes, one of the worst housing projects in the country, at the time, and told her to give me a wish list. I told her to be specific and to be as outlandish as she wanted.
Ora giggled when I told her to be outlandish. She said she wanted an electric golfcart. The project was large and she was always lugging books and supplies and food and computers all over it. She couldn’t drive her car around on the wide sidewalks, but a golfcart would do nicely. The next week two of us delivered an electric golfcart to Ora Love’s office in Richard Allen Homes all for the cost of a receipt.
February will mark the twentieth anniversary of The King’s Jubilee. Through the years we have seen the Lord provide and answer prayer in amazing ways. There’s the lawyer and shrimp roll surprise. There’s the minor peanut butter miracle. There are the countless times when unexpected people showed up with food just as we were running out. There were the police officers who were sent out to harass us and turned in favorable reports to the Rendell administration about us instead.
Then there is the weather. I cannot count the times it has rained while we were on the way to the city and rained on the way home, but was dry the whole time we were serving. There have been several times when we have been drenched, in years past, and that was good, too. So many of the guys would comment that they were surprised to see us in such nasty weather. I just replied, “I eat when it rains. I figured you did too.”
There are so many who have learned to give thanks to God for the meals we have been able to share. A few even come back years after they have moved off the street to say thank you and give glory to God.
How many times have we been down to our last nickel and made it to the city and back on fumes? How many times have we started the day with nothing in the pantry or freezer and in the evening have served over 100 meals?
Through the years, we have met so many wonderful people, both among the homeless and among those who serve them and those who support this ministry.
All of these miracles happen because God loves the poor and you pray and give and work in concert with God’s love. May God bless you abundantly.
Hi Cranford. I just wanted to let you know that earlier this week an elderly friend of ours named Mary (Birkenbach) passed away. She was an ardent supporter of TKJ and always gave Katie and I money to buy bananas, etc. to bring down when we came on Thursdays. I just wanted to let you know since she was extremely supportive of the work you do without having the opportunity to be able to come down for herself. She was a wonderful example of love and compassion and always smiled and helped others, despite her own hardships and difficulties. Please remember her in your prayers.
Mike Jones (from St. Stephen’s OCA)
The King’s Jubilee received $200 in memory of Mary. May her memory be eternal!
As the stock market continued to crash yesterday, NPR kept in touch with a stockbroker with forty years experience, while he was on the floor of the exchange. He told the correspondent that there are two good positions to take in this market: cash and fetal.
Bishop THOMAS was at St. Philip’s recently and he reminded us of a verse that I am always repeating to homeless people and ex-offenders when they get worried about their situations. It’s found at Matthew 6:33 in the Sermon on the Mount: “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
To “seek first” implies temptations to easier, apparently more convenient choices may need to be passed over in setting priorities. But to be sure to get what you need, pay your tithe to the church first. Be faithful in prayer and in church attendance. Seek to do what is right and just with eternity in mind.
If you want to invest for a guaranteed return over and above that; if God has blessed you with more than you need, give alms to the poor. “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” (Proverbs 19:17) In the original language the phrase “pay him again” means “pay him with interest”.
Could there be a more sound investment than lending to the Lord? I trust God more than any bank or stock market. He’ll never need a government bailout. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)
Myron has been a faithful friend of The King’s Jubilee over the last decade. For a couple of years he regularly rode shotgun to help serve in the city. He suffered a stroke this week and was hospitalized for a few days. He is now staying with his sister in Harrisburg, to complete his recuperation and rehabilitation. Please pray for him.
The response to our special appeal put out in August was very encouraging. Over $6,000 came in which put us on an even keel again. Also, two turkeys, two hams, three ham bones and a kettle of chili were donated to stretch our supply of meat until Turkeys ‘R’ Us turkeys starts up at St. Philip’s in a couple of weeks.
You came through amazingly! “O me of little faith!” Thank you so much!
St. Cosmas is considered to be Equal to the Apostles. He was born in Mega Dendron in Ætolia in 1714. He became a monk and lived on Mt. Athos for many years, but became dismayed by the lack of knowledge of the gospel among Orthodox people living under Turkish domination. So he studied rhetoric in Constantinople and received a blessing from Patriarch Seraphim II to go about preaching the Gospel. He preached in Macedonia, Serbia, Albania & Greece and established schools. Not only Christians came to hear him, but many Muslims as well. He was known to be a very holy man. He always sought the blessing of the local Orthodox Bishop before he preached in an area, as well as that of the Turkish authorities. His preaching against dishonest business practices and oppression of the poor raised the ire of both Jewish and Orthodox Christian businessmen. They falsely accused him to the Turkish authorities. The Turks strangled him and threw his body into a river in Albania. That was on August 24, 1779. He was 65. His relics were preserved, however, and have been working wonders since.
“If you want to find perfect love, go sell all your belongings, give them to the poor, go where you find a master and become a slave. Can you do this and be perfect?
“You say this is too heavy? Then do something else. Don’t sell yourself as a slave. Just sell your belongings and give them all to the poor. Can you do it? Or do you find this too heavy a task?”
“All right, you cannot give away all your belongings. Then give half, or a third, or a fifth. Is even this too heavy? Then give one tenth. Can you do that? Is it still too heavy?
“How about this. Don’t sell yourself as slave. Don’t give a penny to the poor. Only do this. Don’t take your poor brother’s coat, don’t take his bread, don’t persecute him, don’t eat him alive. If you don’t want to do him any good, at least do him no harm. Just leave him alone. Is this also too heavy?”
“You say you want to be saved. But how? How can we be saved if everything we are called to do is too heavy? We descend and descend until there is no place further down. God is merciful, yes, but he also has an iron rod.”
- from Love Thy Neighbor by St. Cosmas of Ætolia