Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Prayer vigil consecrates South Heritage Square for Divine Mandate: "Give Shelter to the Homeless"

Pastor Jared McDaniels of Zion AME Church
On Sunday, March 11, around thirty people of faith mostly from Northwest Pasadena gathered on the city-owned property known as South Heritage Square. We had learned that Vice Mayor John Kennedy had raised the possibility of using this property for permanent supportive housing for our homeless neighbors, and we  prayed that the City Council  "defend the rights of the poor and needy" (Proverbs 31:8-9) by housing homeless seniors on the land where we stood. 

Ours was a diverse group: African American pastors, Latino pastors, and an assortment of neighbors and lay people all deeply committed to social justice and compassion. I was the lone Quaker. 

As we formed a circle, Pastor Jared McDaniels and Pastor Marcelo Alvarado as well as others spoke about the importance of housing homeless seniors on this land. 

On a cyclone fence we placed a banner with the words of the prophet Isaiah: GIVE SHELTER TO THE HOMELESS (Isaiah 58:7). Ironically, this fence was purchased with taxpayer dollars to keep homeless people from sleeping on this city-owned property. (Rather than sleep on public property, our homeless neighbors are forced to sleep in bushes next to private businesses and in alleys.)

We feel it would be better to house homeless seniors with dignity (as is already happening at North Heritage Square) rather than let them live and die on the streets like animals. God made his intention clear: "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream" (Amos 5:24).

We are planning an interfaith prayer vigil and shared meal on this site on Friday, June 8, at 7:00 pm. For more info see https://laquaker.blogspot.com/2018/06/join-us-for-interfaith-prayer-vigil-and.html

During our prayer vigil each person shared biblical passages like these relating to poverty and justice:

Proverbs 29:7 

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

Proverbs 31:8-9 

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Leviticus 25:35

 "If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.

1 John 3:17 

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

Psalm 103:6 

The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

Amos 5:24 

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Proverbs 17:5 

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 28:27 

Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Proverbs 22:9 

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.

Leviticus 19:9-10 

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

Matthew 5:1-48   

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ...

Psalm 82:1-8 

How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Luke 4:16-21  

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. ...

Matthew 8:20  

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Matthew 25:31-46 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, ...

Proverbs 14:21 

Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

1 Samuel 2:8 

He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. 

Psalm 140:12 

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.

Proverbs 19:17 

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed...

Matthew 19:24  

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Proverbs 14:31 

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him..

Luke 1:53 

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

Psalm 12:1-8 

Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” ....

Jeremiah 22:16 

He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the Lord.

Isaiah 25:4 

For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,

Psalm 35:10 

All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”




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