Sermon for Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, San Jose
San Francisco Night Ministry, Associate Night Minister
Rev. Dr. Richard H. Park, July 29, 2007
http://video.google.com/ and type the sermon title
“The Bridge between the Divine and Humanity!”
Isaiah 53: 1-7/ Psalm 23
Matthew 25: 31-40
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Thank you for inviting me to share some stories of SF night ministry
with you, especially pastor Bea, Randy and all congregations.
Let us pray!
Gracious God, full of mercy and full of love, tonight we come
to you by serving people both through phone calls and in
person. Empower us with wisdom of speech and warmth of
love. Encounter us by opening our eyes and ears to see
Christ through those we serve tonight. In Jesus’ name, we pray!
“I have no money! I have no career! I have no partner! I have no home!
I was smart and successful then, but now I am fat, ugly, deaf,
can’t see. And I am tired!”
“I don’t love myself! I hate me! I am a loser! I am a Fuck up!”
“I don’t know how the guy who jumped was at the lowest of the low
in his life.”
“She was just at the end of her rope!”
“He ended up as homeless
at the street of
before he jumped from the bridge!”
After all these last words they jumped from the bridge.
This is from the movie, “The bridge!”
As a night minister I met Thomas one night who came
Thomas said he
just came out of
He told me that he
eats out of garbage cans near the Business district everyday around , when many business men throw
away their lunch boxes. He tried suicide several times by means of gas, pill
overdose, and jumping off the
One busy Saturday night, I met Jason who is 39 years
old at the Tenderloin. He grew up in a Lutheran church as an illegitimate child.
His mother was conceived him when she was 16. Jason told me that he was
diagnosed with AIDS by the use of Drug when he was a teen. He became a hustler for
6 years started at the age of 13 in
Another night I was walking outside the bus depot area. I met Matthew, who was writing something under the street light as I passed by. I asked him, what are you writing? Matthew said he is writing science fiction. He already published short stories on the internet. One can buy or download his short stories from LuLu.com/mattstohler, titled “Stohler Worlds. He even showed me some poems he wrote.
Matthew was a computer guy from
Isaiah 53 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” We should pay attention to this mystical identification of the Messiah and suffering humanity. By his being suffered he identifies himself with us. Messiah is with humanity who suffers, who have sorrows.
On the other hand, Gospel Matthew writes, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
If Messiah was identified with us who suffer, then, Christ is found in those who suffer. This is so in two ways. Messiah identifies with humanity who suffers, yet those who suffer are conversely Christ. I believe this is one of the most quintessential mysteries in the Scripture!
How does the divine become the humanity who suffers? How does the suffering become the divine? Christ identifies himself with those who are hungry, who are thirsty, strange, cold, sick and in prison. Salvation comes not from knowledge of faith but it comes from action: Give, Invite, Look after and Visit! In this, we can play the role of God and Christ, or we can experience God and Christ!
righteousness does not come from religious practice but it comes from daring to
reach out to the suffering! Episcopal priest Myers who had worked for youth
Night Ministers work with crisis line counselors in
the office who picks up phone calls for counseling and referral. One night I received
a phone call from an old lady who live in
There is one donut shop at
There are more street saints I can add. They are not priest or minister. They are normal people but they simply follow Jesus; they simply give, invite, look after and visit those in need and in crisis. Whenever I see them I think there is no big gap between the saints and the secular.
San Francisco Night Ministry follows this discipleship on behalf of God, and Christ, and the Church since 1964 when two ministers discovered there was no ministry after dark--to lighten the darkness and rekindle the hope!
Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. Though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me!