As I walked toward my church for Good Friday services today, a middle-aged, African American man approached me. His skin had the rough look of someone who has spent a lot of time outdoors and his eyes appeared not to have slept well in days if not weeks. There was a tear on his face, not quite dry. "Why has God forsaken me?" he cried out to me. "Doesn't God love me?" he pleaded to know, as I walked closer. "I have been homeless for 8 months. What have I done wrong?" As I stood and listened, I tried to just be present to his anguish. "Maybe I would be better off dead. I don't know why I was born," he exclaimed, peering into my face. "Does God love me?"
As he repeated his litany of questions, we talked a bit about the homeless shelters nearby. However, it was clear that the man was troubled and that he longed for something more - far more. Unlike many of the unfortunate who walk the streets, this man did not ask for money. He just wanted to know if God loved him - and, if so, why was he still homeless? I asked him his name. I told him that God does love him and that I was sorry that he was suffering so. I told him that I knew I could not solve all of his problems today, but asked if it would be all right if I gave him something. I gave him some money, purposely touching his hand as I did so, telling him that I hoped at least this would help today feel a little better. I told him that I would pray for him. He thanked me and I went on to church, feeling his spirit nearby as we commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus.
Let us hold this man, and the many thousands like him, deep in our hearts.