"of no account"

West Grove, PA

We were tired and four-days-without-washing when we arrived at a church yesterday evening. But we got there just in time for their mid-week prayer service, and smiled at each other when we recognized the tune of the opening hymn:

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

I also appreciated hearing the pastor read these prophetic passages about Jesus' experience as a "nobody," from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22:
As one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account ...we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

I am a worm, and no man; scorned by men, and despised by the people. All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; "He committed his cause to the Lord; let him deliver him, let him rescue him..."
That last line has been important to me, and it appears in Matthew's account of the crucifixion (Mt 27.43).

We talked with the pastor and a few others after the service, but when they found out we had nowhere to sleep they seemed to see us as just a couple of homeless people (even though I tried to explain what we're doing in terms of "leaning on the everlasting arms"). So we had to settle for $10 from the pastor and a shower in the sink.

And as we were struggling to find a good place to sleep outside, our tiredness and frustration boiled over a little between us. Being nobodies can be very hard on relationships. I thought of that this morning as we walked, how the poor and despised often take out their pain on each other and so also damage or lose the few important relationships that they do have. From those who have not, even what they have is taken away.

"Make sure to say we made up," Heather says now, as she reads over my shoulder.

We spent a long time talking this morning, and listening to each other, hiding from the rain in a school bus stop shelter. Yes, we made up. And I think we've grown in understanding of each other through the experience. I'm just humbled by how vulnerable our love seems. I hope this can help me better understand the challenges that others face under the pressures of need and lowliness.

Soon after, we were offered a ride (the first time on this walk) by an undocumented immigrant, another of our society's nobodies. He thought we might not want to be walking in the rain.

I'm grateful for that moment of grace, and I'm also very thankful to God for a shower in a sink—and for a school bus stop to make up in.