This week I picked out “blind”, from a bag of topics, the topic Homelessness with which to lead prayers at work. Interesting, because God knows that it is a subject I learnt something about when I became a Christian in 1994.
Last weekend my sister was moved to Redhill and I was reminded that this was somewhere I had lived at the end of 1994, during a time when I was “homeless” between having to sell my home in Kingston upon Thames in the September of 1994 and buying a new home in Lincolnshire in March 1995.
I visited my sister last Sunday afternoon in Redhill and in the evening I went to a Lou Fellingham concert in Woking. I was reminded that when I was living at a friend’s home in Redhill in December 1994, as a newly born again Christian, I was invited to share Christmas lunch with Lou and her family. It was my first Christmas as a Christian and I shared it with a family of born again Christians. Perfect.
On Monday of this week it was my friend Sue Scriven’s 41st wedding anniversary. I had been one of her bridesmaids, and it was through Sue that I had met Lou and her family and came to share that Christmas with them in 1994, because Lou’s mum was my friend Sue’s cousin.
I wanted to share a You Tube video as part of our prayer time on Monday of this week at work and we went into a meeting room to do that. The first thing was that the meeting room was very cold (I think God was reminding us that being homeless on the streets of England is very cold). The next thing was that we couldn’t get the sound on the video to work when we plugged the laptop into the video screen or the tv, so we had to watch it directly from the laptop (and of course we were reminded that there is no electricity available on the streets).
On Tuesday I was reminded of another “homeless” story to share. I had married John Wilson in Kingston upon Thames in 1988 (at which my friend Sue Scriven’s two daughters were my bridesmaids) and I became Jacqui Wilson. At that time I was told that Jackie Wilson was an American singer who had a hit with a song called “Reet Petite”. On our wedding day John chose the song “The Power of Love” by Jennifer Rush for our first dance as husband and wife.
John then left me in 1994 and that is how I became “homeless” and was squatting in a flat for 3 months. The residents of the other flats there were addicted to drugs. I then moved from there to live with my friend in Redhill and from there to Lincolnshire, where I owned my own home again.
In 1997 I was working in Lincoln and, because I had lived with the homeless in 1994, I wondered whether God wanted me to work with the homeless in Lincoln. I had met a man in church named Paul Reet and his wife was quite petite ! Paul volunteered in the Nomad cafe (a drop in for dropouts) and I said to God that if when I passed the Nomad cafe that lunchtime I saw Paul working in the cafe then I would know that God wanted me to offer to work there with the ”homeless”. I looked through the doorway and Paul was indeed there, so I walked in and was amazed that the song being played there at that moment was “The Power of Love” by Jennifer Rush!
On Halloween night 1997 I did a sponsored sleep out in St Botolph’s graveyard in Lincoln, in order to raise money for Nomad and later heard that my husband had re-married on that day – that brings an ironic twist to “Until Death Do Us Part”.
So, who really is homeless – in a sense John is “homeless” as he doesn’t know Jesus and I found my home in 1994 when I was physically made “homeless” but spiritually found “home”, because home is not a place it is a person – Jesus.
The Bible says in Hebrews 13:14 (New Living Translation) “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come”
and in 1 Peter 2:11-12 (The Message) “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.”