Loving God, Holy One of our lives, we come to you with our heads bowed in shame. We have brothers and sisters who have no place to call home, who walk these very streets. We choose not to see them, or we decide that they want to live in dumpsters or bamboo thickets. We wash our hands of them and we sweep our streets of them. We are afraid of people who remind us that life is as unstable as cardboard box houses. We study the causes, make our pronouncements, write our laws, design our policies…and we forget.
Creator of the universe, we forget the people who you might call the “least of these.” You remember the birds of the air and the lilies of the field…but we forget our sisters and brothers. Thrust your call to care on us so we cannot forget.
Open our eyes so that we can see the world as you see it. Shake us up so we can feel the hurts that surround us. Alert us to the ways we thwart your good intention for all people in our community. Remove the scales from our hearts so we can remove the burdens we place on people. Strengthen our legs so we can walk alongside as people become strong to carry their responsibilities. Give us wisdom so we can lift people up and not squash them down. Wrap us in courage so we can reach out to the strange among us and love them as you love them.
God of the downtrodden, we ask now the most impossible thing of all. Turn us around so that we may learn from homeless and poor people and celebrate what they can teach us about themselves as well as about ourselves and you. Once we see through their eyes, sear your truth in our hearts so that we may amass all the power and resources at our disposal, so we can serve those who you care most for…those who have no power or resources. Make us aware of the unexpected ways you continue to come to us. You have revealed yourself in the past in a burning bush, a pillar of cloud, a baby in a manger, and as an itinerant rabbi…why not a ragged, smelly man who looks in our eyes?
Help us to see you, to care for you, and to love you, our God who was yourself homeless. Lead us to be your partner in claiming our community as your holy place. With love we pray. Amen.