Operation: Clean Start

When I moved into my first apartment, what was the first thing I did to make it mine?

Cleaned it.

When we bought our first old fixer-upper house, what was the first thing that we did to make it ours (before we did any demolition or painting)?

Cleaned it.

We would like to provide something to encourage people who are transitioning off the street to their own space to make it theirs right away. We would like to be able to provide a kit with basic cleaning supplies and tools to every person who is moving into a place of their own off of the street, in Jesus’ Name. We are calling this program Operation: Clean Start.

We will provide a list of items that you can purchase or some you can make and assemble in a kit. Each kit will include some sort of personal touch from the family or individual that is giving it and a note saying that it is given in Jesus’ Name and that it was assembled by people who are praying for his or her success. A suggested donation of $10 for delivery costs should accompany each kit.

More details will follow.

Many hands make light work.

Most of my work is done during the day on the night we serve. Actually, it starts the day before, when I remember to get out a tukey to thaw on Wednesday morning and take inventory of vegetables and supplies to see what I will need to pick up on Thursday. Thursday morning, I roast the turkey and head off to Produce Junction and/or the grocery store for whatever is lacking. In the afternoon, I take the meat off the bones and cut up the veggies, boil the barley or quinoa or whatever, add the spices and let the soup simmer. I try to touch base with the other volunteers who are going to be serving that night, at least to line up some one to ride shot gun with me to be responsible for Altoids.

Once I get down to the park, some of the men and other team members help unload and set up. We get everything arranged. Soup, cups, spoons, spaghetti, sandwiches, hot sauce, salt, pepper, iced tea, cups, hard boiled eggs, fruit, peanuts, napkins, pastries, power packs, cookies, milk; volunteers in position; Father bless!

I used to always serve the soup. I jealously guarded serving the soup. Now I don’t do anything. I just stand around and talk; with both eyes wide open. Two weeks ago, a young man asked me who the pastor of the group was. I said, “Well, we are from more than one church. I am the director of The King’s Jubilee, which is this ministry. Over there is Fr. Christos who is pastor of Holy Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Elkins Park. He is talking to Fr. Noah who is pastor of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church, Souderton. Those folks over there are from Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, Downingtown. This fellow here is from St. Stephen’s Orthodox Cathedral, NE Phila.”

He smiled, shook his head and said, “You sure do have it going on! Thank you all for the fine work you’re doing!”

Meet Bob

Cookie MakerSt. Philip’s received an email from Bob from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which said:

I am Bob Lutzick, who has been attending The King’s Jubilee outreach weekly. It’s always a pleasure helping out, and I look forward to as many weeks as God allows me to be there. Thanks for the opportunity to give back some of the blessings which I have been given by the Lord. Bob

“… and let mercy and justice meet …”

I have been praying the Prayer of a Sick Person quite a bit over the last year, especially this summer. Since June 8th, I have had more days with debilitating migraines than without. I have experienced at least three incidences of strokes, the second two with multiple infarcts. I have been unable to do the work for “Come and See” Icons, since my eyesight and depth perception is unreliable. Even the computer work is painful. The business is about to go under, if it hasn’t already. The last Tuesday of August and the first Thursday of September, I coordinated The King’s Jubilee from a hospital bed using my cellphone. I was so grateful I could do that.

The first hospital roommate I had, thought he was being held against his will while people were ransacking his house. He broke free from his restraints and cornered a couple of nurses. They would get him calmed down and restrain and sedate him again. He would sleep for ten minutes, then he would go off again. This went on for seven hours, before they moved me out his room to a room at the extreme other end of the hall, at 4 am. I could still hear him screaming his wife’s name. He was in psychic hell. It is only by the grace of God that I am not in a similar condition. Lord have mercy.

Later that morning, I prayed the prayer above. When I got to the phrase: “let mercy and justice meet”, I thought not only of how I deserve hell and long for heaven (for that is truly what the prayer is asking), but that I also long for it for my tormented former roommate and for my current roommate who suffered a couple of seizures and doesn’t have health insurance, so isn’t going to get the follow up care he needs. He will probably be bankrupted for the rest of his life by the hospital bill on his credit report.

I began to seriously meditate on that phrase of the prayer. It seems, as a society, we crave justice. We want to see wrongdoers punished, the slothful poor, the immoral exposed. That is all just. And it’s all fine when it’s somebody else or somebody else’s child, or somebody else’s best friend. When it strikes closer to home, we seriously plead for mercy. Mercy is where just punishment is withheld. “Lord have mercy!” is the most oft repeated prayer in all our services and private devotions. We know that the Lord is just, but we aren’t asking for justice just yet.

The beauty of this prayer is that it is from the perspective of facing one’s mortality and final judgment and it is calling for God’s justice only to be met by his mercy. This is similar to what I pray for when I

Falling Asleep of the Theotokos

Dormition

pray “for a good defense at the judgment seat of Christ.” Christ stands in my place and satisfies the demands for justice. I am clothed in my white baptismal garment, hidden in Christ. Mercy is granted. Justice is satisfied.

The icon of the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos is the most apt visual representation of this concept. Mary died because of the fall of Adam. That’s justice. Jesus Christ is there immediately to carry her in his arms like a swaddled babe to life eternal in Glory! That’s justice and mercy having met. It is the hope of every believer hidden in Christ.

This prayer is not just about the sweet by and by though. We pray for the peace of the whole world; Lord have mercy! and the unity of all mankind; Lord have mercy!

As I continued my meditation, I realized that what I have been seeking for, longing for, and working for my whole adult life is to see mercy and justice meet. I want a second chance when I do wrong. I want to help the ex-offender safely get a second shot at life after he is released. I want to be delivered from my illness. I want to help addicts and alcoholics be dilivered from their illnesses. I want my family healed. We expand our family to include others who hope for the same. I want to survive a bad decision or two or three or 146. I want us to find a way to let people find their way forward even though they may have bet on the wrong horse in uncertain economic times.

The Lord told us that if we do not show mercy, we will not be shown mercy. So pray the Jesus Prayer with as long a rope as you want to, if you don’t give alms and still want to let children die because their parents can’t afford healthcare, well, Lord have mercy.

The King’s Jubilee is trying in small, tangible ways to share the mercy of God that we all truly crave with the poor and needy in center city and the prosperous and needy in the suburbs. It is truly “more blessed to give than to receive.” There is no point to prosperity, if you can’t use it to help someone else.

Be someone’s answer to prayer today. It is the tender mercies of God that lead men to repentance.

Peace,

Cranford Joseph Coulter
director, The King’s Jubilee

A Prayer of a Sick Person

 O Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Physician of souls and bodies, who didst become man and suffer death on the Cross for our salvation, and through thy tender love and compassion didst heal all manner of sickness and affliction; do thou O Lord, visit me in my suffering, and grant me grace and strength to bear this sickness with which I am afflicted, with Christian patience and submission to thy will, trusting in thy loving kindness and tender mercy. Bless, I pray thee, the means used for my recovery, and those who administer them. I know O Lord, that I justly deserve any punishment inflicted upon me for I have so often offended thee and sinned against thee, in thought, word, and deed. Therefore, I humbly pray thee, look upon my weakness, and deal not with me after my sins, but according to the multitude of thy mercies. Have compassion on me, and let mercy and justice meet; and deliver me from this sickness and suffering I am undergoing. Grant that my sickness may be the means of my true repentance and amendment of my life according to thy will, that I may spend the rest of my days in thy love and fear: that my soul, being helped by thy grace and sanctified by thy Holy Mysteries, may be prepared for its passage to the Eternal Life, and there, in the company of thy blessed Saints, may praise and glorify thee with thy Eternal Father and Life-giving Spirit. Amen.

Funding

The King’s Jubilee receives no budgeted money from St. Philip’s or any other church. We survive on almsgiving. Last month only $30 was designated for The King’s Jubilee at St. St. Philip’s, which begs the question: When do we stop doing this ministry?

We are here to distribute the alms of God’s people to those in need in a society divided by highways and zoning laws. If we are given nothing, we have nothing to give. If you want me to stop doing this ministry, it will be very painful for me. Please let me continue to help you bless the poor in Jesus’ Name.

Mail donations to:

The King’s Jubilee
27 N. Front St.
Souderton, PA 18964

Or make a secure online donation here: https://www.comeandseeicons.com/donation.htm