Where Is God?
I recently listened to a radio interview of Father Greg Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries. I’ve heard Greg before and each time I’ve been struck by how excited and grateful he is to be working with the kids he works with.
He chose to go to the most dangerous parish in the United States, which is located in Los Angeles. He has buried 183 gang members and wept over every one.
Homeboy Industries started because gang members needed jobs and they couldn’t find any. It started as a bakery but now includes a diner, catering, silkscreen/embroidery, farmers market, merchandising, and grocery. They offer jobs, legal services, education, counseling, and tattoo removal. Their message, “Hope has an address,” is lived out in the lives of kids most people have given up on.
What struck me most about the interview was that Father Greg or Father G as the “homies” call him described the surprising places God shows up, in the ordinary but extraordinary ways.
He told the story about an orphaned gang member who works on their graffiti removal crew. He asked the young man what he did for Thanksgiving and he said that he stayed home, had a few guys from the crew over. He said that they had made a “proper” turkey but nothing else. The scene unfolds with seven former enemies crowded around a small table in a tiny kitchen waiting for the “proper” turkey to be done. Then they ate together.
Father Greg describes this scene as a true enactment of the Lord’s Supper. An ordinary looking meal that in actuality is extraordinary. Proof that God becomes real and lives in our midst. It wouldn’t have happened if God hadn’t shown up and replaced hate and hopelessness with compassion and hope.
I share this story with you because it reminds me of several important things.
1. Hopelessness doesn’t just affect gang members and convicts, it holds us back.
2. God is in this world ministering and healing broken hearts.
3. Care and serve, even when things look hopeless.
Where have you seen God show up?
Photo courtesy of Homeboy Industries. Father Greg prays with one of his friends at his office.