“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” – Jeremiah 1:4a, The Message
In recent days I’ve heard about some friends of mine who operate a drop-in center in another major city in Canada being forced to relocate their program. They lease their space and the owners of the building are imposing very ‘un-dignifying’ restrictions on the 150 people, mostly homeless, that use the space on a regular basis. Rather than be party to the mistreatment and exclusion of their people, their friends, they have decided to not renew their lease; leaving them homeless, scrambling to find a new space for their program to call home.
Hearing these kinds of stories from across our country on a semi-regular basis grieves my spirit. But these stories also challenge me to ask the questions, “What might we be doing in our work that is not dignifying? What can we do in our shelters to improve how well we treat the people who come through our doors?” In recent years I believe we’ve made great strides to ensure that the people we serve are being treated with the kind of dignity and respect they deserve, but we still have a ways to go.
So as we think about this month’s missional theme of ‘dignity and respect’, let’s acknowledge and celebrate the things we are doing well and allow ourselves to be challenged by the ways we know we can improve.
Let’s continue striving to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.
Dion Oxford, Director of Mission Integration
Prayer for Dignity and Respect
Today we celebrate the sacredness of all God’s people,
And remember we are created in Your image.
We praise You God for the gift of life
and the special place that we have in Your creation.
Created sacred, we reflect Your image,
and are called to respect the same dignity in others.
We praise you and thank you for wonderfully creating us.
Help us to see each other and ourselves as sacred and holy.
May we always recognize the dignity and worth of every person,
And may we treat all with deep respect,
through your Son Jesus.
Adapted from here.