Our four year old church was singing it out one Sunday down in the hood. The city of Lancaster, yes its still a hood with row houses and a mixed group of people, that if all you knew is white, would have you locking your car doors.
Our worship singers are a blend of it all. White, African-Liberia and local African American. THEY ALL SING IT OUT, YO.
One day La Tonia and Jon walked in. They where passing by and heard something in the music that drew them in. From that point, they jumped right in to our lives. Stan, our African American pastor’s, preaching took hold of a void or longing in their souls. And they stayed.
They where very typical of our local folk. They moved three times in one year, needed assistance often, rides to doctors and just needed help in surviving a bureaucratic social system that works best when people are down, so it seems. Our pastor won big time when he , himself, showed up and sprayed roach killer in their apartment to gain at least a few roach free days.
One of the main issues was that they where not married and wanted to take communion. After some time, listening to sound Bible preaching they saw the need before a holy God. So at the close of one Sunday service, we had a wedding. They also saw the need to stop pirating cable from the neighbors. two huge hurdles that others would have left from, if not the Holy Spirit had been working.
She stole my heart, When after completing a move down the street from my residence in the hood, she announced loud and clear, ” There’s a new sheriff in town.” That announcement on her 2×2 doorstep so all could hear, was a decoration of having limits of tolerance for noise and activity especially loitering on her step.
She developed cancer over the last couple years, and passed away last week. She was the second cancer victim in our church.
When people cross our lives in the city, our mutual transparency blends a bond that people ,out side the high pace and hard living of the street, don’t get. Our Bible study was victim to both of these cancer deaths. but The Word of God is still true and new. Both of these people where champions of drawing people into our service. They talked our small congregation up, always.
Its hard to say goodby, yet we are really just saying see you latter in Heaven through Christ