Dear Inner Circle,
No sooner had I neared the entrance of Wayside than I was besieged with requests, but one stood distinct from the rest. It was a man, half-hidden beneath a bicycle, shouting, “What kind of pastor are you if you can’t even help me attach this coffee table to my bike? What kind of training did they give you?” I couldn’t help but burst out laughing which unfortunately seemed to infuriate the gentleman even more. Someone jumped to my defense, “Don’t talk to him like that! That’s not fair! I want to ask him for money for smokes, so don’t upset him!” Amidst all the commotion, laughter and yelling emerged my saviour, who silently fixed the table to the bike. As he sent the disgruntled cyclist on his wobbly way, he patted me on my back. “They ask a bit of ya, don’t they Rev?”. I chuckled, “I’ll never judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, mate”. A day that begins this way? There’s no way it can ever end up being a bad one and right now is a season where we take all the good days we can.
Lately, my weeks have seen me spending more time in hospital wards and visiting rooms than drinking coffee downstairs in our cafe. Life, in its unpredictable nature, sometimes unfolds this way for our community. Whether it’s a scheduled surgery, or an unscheduled stay, each encounter is a poignant reminder of the precious and fleeting nature of existence. I recently sat with a young man, his head in his hands, anger and hate driving him so deeply inwards that he now faces a long recovery. I wish I could wave a wand and rewind time, go back to the key moments in his tender childhood and remove the pain, but all I can do is sit alongside him. All I can offer is my presence, a tower of weakness, to remind him of the simple truth: his existence matters, and this world is better for him being in it, even if he can’t see it right now.
Our mission is to create community with no “us and them”. We’re betting everything on an awesome tomorrow, even if today gives little assurance. But isn’t our collective yearning for a world where love trumps hate the most precious, most necessary dream to chase?
Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle.
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Listen to the audio recording here: