Our work at HOPE Missions is far from unique in the world. We are following the footsteps of many who have gone before us. From “page one” of the Bible, we know that all are created in the image of God. It is God’s desire that everyone would come to know the saving grace offered through Jesus; everyone would be adopted into His family. Mother Teresa and Father Gregory Boyle provide modern examples of leaders committed to loving God and loving our neighbors, especially those who are despised and rejected.
Mother Teresa is often quoted for her words:
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”– Mother Teresa
We are all related, even those we would prefer not to accept.
Father Gregory Boyle reflects on Mother Teresa’s comments and takes us deep in the waters of loving others, especially the despised.
Only kinship. Inching ourselves closer to creating a community of kinship such that God might recognize it. Soon we imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. The measure of our compassion lies not in our service of those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them, in mutuality.– Father Gregory Boyle
Those that serve with us at HOPE Missions can see faces and recognize the names of people living here in Anderson, South Carolina, that are easily despised and readily left out. We know those who are demonized that fight unseen battles in their minds; people we have seen smile with a cup of coffee, too much sugar, and a warm breakfast. We are learning to love our neighbors by serving alongside others, and getting to know names and stories while serving as best we can.
Finally, as the weather gets cold and we operate the Warming Center for those living in unsheltered conditions or without adequate accommodations, please pray for our friends. Yes, we need volunteer servants to stay overnight, but we’re mostly concerned about our brothers and sisters who are losing the battle of deep trauma that has them trapped in a vicious cycle or addiction, substance use disorder, and declining mental health.
We don’t always get it right. We are not confused by making mistakes. It’s a learning process that takes many hands to accomplish. These words won’t convince you, no doubt, but I can say with confidence that those who come and serve with tender hearts will be blessed as you bless others.