Church of the Resurrection

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Posts from: 04/2014

Chicago’s Beloved

April 14, 2014

John Barry decribes his involvement with the homeless outreach, Chicago's Beloved.

I’m old enough to remember some of the social justice songs from the 70s written by guys like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. (I even sat in the front row for a 1977 Springsteen concert.) Dylan sang about a homeless man who was found dead on the street, and Springsteen sang about “Me and My Brothers Under the Bridge.” Although I grew up on Long Island, New York and always remember seeing homeless people in New York City, I never got involved serving the homeless.

But all that has changed since I started coming to Church of the Resurrection. I am a rookie at believing, praying and thinking about others. Last July, through a series of miracles, I was led to faith in Jesus. A month later I was led to the Church of the Resurrection.

Then, shortly after I met Gayle and Bill Bloink, they invited me to participate in a ministry that reaches out to homeless people on Saturday nights in Chicago. The Bloinks join with others to serve through a ministry called Chicago’s Beloved, distributing food, water and prayers to the homeless of Chicago. Our mission is to share a bag lunch, conversation, and prayer for hope and faith. Being a rookie at prayer, I try to engage our friends in conversation and provide three areas of thought: faith, hope and love.

Our group consists of a diverse group of college students (Moody Bible, UIC, and Wheaton), young adults, and a few “older” folks like me. I regularly tell these dedicated college students that they’re an unbelievable inspiration to me. Guess where I was on Saturday nights during my college days? Definitely not ministering to the homeless!

After six months of passing out food, engaging in conversations and prayer, and getting to know the men and women on the streets, I can share the following:

  • Homelessness affects everyone. I have met homeless people from Naperville, Chicago, Indiana, Louisiana, private schools, etc. It cuts across all social and economic backgrounds.
  • It is very sad! Every one of these men and women are somebody’s child, brother, sister, childhood friend.
  • Homeless people often struggle with other issues. How do people end on the streets? Truth be told, circumstances. However, I estimate 80-90% of the homeless have an addiction issue. As a member of AA myself, most of these people have a heavy addiction and cannot break the cycle of alcohol, drugs or mental anguish by themselves.
  • Homeless people are survivors. Chicago has cold winters, but this winter has been really cold! Every Saturday I bundle up for my drive from Naperville to Chicago. I add extra clothing in the parking garage. When walking the streets of Chicago, my feet and hands are cold. I can only grin with Jesus, when I say “Barry, get with it, you are seeing people living outdoors without socks, boots, gloves, hats.”

I leave Chicago on Saturday night with a lingering question: What else can we do? Homelessness is a societal problem. I do not believe any of the homeless select this life. Stuff happens and the streets are where they end.

How can you help? Say a prayer for the homeless men and women. They need a miracle to overcome addiction and get a break. Say a prayer for Chicago Beloved’s members. We have about five minutes with each homeless person. That’s a short time to connect with them, say a prayer, make a difference, and put a smile on their face.

Remember, the homeless are your friends. They may have been in grade school with you, played on your little league team, or been your neighbor. Thanks for allowing me to share my story. 

Tagged: compassion

Way of Sorrow

April 11, 2014

An original song and video from RezArts artists.

As we begin the journey of Holy Week, we're glad to be able to post this original video and song that follows Jesus on his way of sorrow to the cross. The video was conceived and produced by Chris Scherf and the song was written by Bonnie and me (Trevor).

The initial idea for the song came a few years ago on a prayer retreat where I was able to pray the stations of the cross every morning for three days. Meditating on the suffering of Christ in that way brought me face to face with the mystery of the cross—the creator of the universe becoming as his creation to be killed by his creation using a tree and nails he created so that he could rescue his creation.

The events of the crucifixion unfold in the video as different observers react to the cross in different ways—ultimately inviting us to respond to the cross:

Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is he;
Hosanna, hosanna, he walked that road for me.

Click here to download the song and read the lyrics.

Click here to download the video on WorshipHouseMedia.com.

Chris Scherf

After being a long-time member and working on numerous RezArts projects and videos for Resurrection, the Scherfs moved to Alabama in 2013 to be closer to family.
www.secondlookfilms.com