This is the second in a series of reflections on celebrating and living in this season of incarnation. Last week, I spent the night as a host at Divine Intervention, an overnight “warming room” at Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church. I wrote this reflection the following morning.
The Word became flesh and made his home among us. – John 1:14 (CEB)
This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. – John 15:12 (CEB)
As I write this, I am feeling quite emotional, which is probably heightened by the half a cup of regular coffee I drank and being tired. I’m not really sure what emotions I’m feeling.
Divine Intervention is able to welcome 20 guests each evening from December 1 through March 31. Most come every night. The night I was there, a guest had not returned for two nights, which opened up a spot. One woman was already waiting outside when I arrived at 5:15; at 6:00 she found out she had a spot for the night.
I was surprised how quiet it was. As people came in, they set their stuff down and got a cup of coffee or tea. Some read, some gathered to talk, other just sat. Different groups (churches, families, individuals) serve dinner each night. We prayed together before we ate, holding hands around the table. There was some dinner conversation. After dinner, some were assigned to dishes (or snow removal when that times comes) while others went back to reading or talking or upstairs to watch a movie. The library was open for reading. Some just went to sleep. Many spend most of their day walking around – and even keeping warm takes effort.
At dinner, I ate with S (who likes comics) and D (whose two youngest sons, 13 and 17, live in Nebraska with their Mom). We talked about their day and also about the Bible. Both have been to Sunday worship at Tippe and said they liked the service. I wonder if some go to the service because they are already at the church and there aren’t many places to go on Sunday morning.
Regardless, it is a warm place that welcomes them.
And this is what Mary offered to Jesus. Tippe opens up its building every night for 120 days to people that most of us don’t make eye contact with if we pass them on the street. Divine Intervention certainly isn’t “home” but it feels very home-y. It doesn’t feel institutional but a place where people gather.
Some may refer to it as a mission, a service, a shelter, a soup kitchen, or a ministry. But I don’t think it’s any of these. It’s a community, and I was thankful to be invited to be a part of them.
Wondering how you can support this community? Divine Intervention accepts monetary and in-kind donations. You could also make some baked goods for dessert and snacks. Contact me for help in coordinating delivery.