A hand on a shoulder, a tear dropping as a weight lifts because of a burden shared. Bowed heads and private whispers.
This may not be the image that typically defines prayer, because too often we try to find that definition in textbooks and institutions.
Instead, the prayer that shakes me, the prayer that feels the most authentic, is the prayer with the poor and brokenhearted. The reality that a vulnerable soul is a real soul lays a foundation for prayer.
I was reminded of this at the recent Compassion Rockwood Clinic. I saw a handful of those quiet moments with a hand on shoulder and tears in eyes with prayer as the centerpiece. Vulnerable individuals crossing paths for the first and possibly only time; their identities not so easily defined as volunteer/guest or homeowner/homeless.
Instead, they are simply two souls bearing a weight together for a moment.
I'm standing close by as a witness to those holy moments. I'm encouraged not only in my faith but also in our tireless work.
I'm reminded, as I stand there in the same decrepit gymnasium where the first Compassion Clinic occurred eleven years ago, "this is why we do what we do."
Dozens of communities, 5 states, and 3 continents later, it’s all about stewarding the climate in which these moments can flourish. A context where the love of Jesus is tangibly experienced because people and churches who wouldn't normally cross paths have united in a compassionate moment with a touch of eternity.
This is why we do what we do.