Remembering the homeless

News | December 21, 2017

Huddled together in the brisk morning air in downtown Davenport, a few dozen people remembered those without a home in the Quad Cities.

The listened to 33 names, read aloud, of men and women who died this year. Sedrick and Richard, Rosanne and Amber. The ages of death – most in their 40s, 50s, and 60s – offered an indication of how homelessness can shorten lives.

Rev. Jay Wolin of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities prayed.

“We gather together this morning in the cold of winter as people of many faiths, but we all know that 
Each human life is sacred
It is sacred in its being born.
It is sacred in its living
And it is sacred in its dying

We ask that you shelter us, as the cold winds howl in the night, chilling our hearts and rattling the windows of our souls. Help us to find new hope, when hope is hard to find, help us remember that we are not alone Remind us this morning and every morning that your blessing will show us the direction to the dawn of new day. Grant us, the strength and courage to answer the call to love, to find compassion in our hearts for all people.

Let us reclaim in this day and time a humanity that proclaims the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Grant us, too, the wisdom and humility that we might speak our truth and our joy and our sorrow with love We ask you to accompany us as we journey to the beloved community. By our presence here this day, this hour, we come together to pay tribute to the memory of those no longer with us. May our coming together bring each other comfort in the long days ahead. 
All this we ask in your name. Amen.”

A lack of affordable housing, health crises, mental illness and other serious problems cause hundreds of Quad Citians to be in a state of need, said Ben Cleaveland, president of the Shelter and Transitional Housing Council. He is a director at Bethany for Children and Families, where he works with chronically homeless families and teens, kids who are aging out of the child welfare system and high-risk families, among others.

The event, Ben says, “gives people a chance to step into their shoes, while at the same time providing some critical help.” Event organizers accepted donations of hats, gloves, scarves, coats and blankets throughout the morning vigil, which began at 7:30 a.m., and continued until 11 a.m.

A fire in a barrel helped keep them warm.

Leave a Comment

Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.