This Sunday was an atypical but typical day of worship at New City. When I walked into the room a few minutes before the service, after teaching our new adult education class, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of our neighborhood homeless men sitting quietly waiting for the service to begin. Dante (not his real name), is Italian, in his mid-sixties and has a big white beard.
During the sermon, Dante started to make comments loud enough for everyone to hear. Pretty soon it was awkward enough that I had to stop and let him know that I would love to talk more over the dinner, but he needed to be quiet for now. As I continued to preach and mentioned the name of Jesus, Dante would yell out “Jesus isn’t real!!” as Oong (our pastoral assistant) and others tried to calm him down. Finally, Oong escorted Dante out as he was just too disruptive.
I was a little shaken but managed to finish my sermon as planned. As we sang our final song, I began to formulate a few words for God’s people before communion. I shared how we are all broken like our friend, Dante. If we think we’re so much better than a poor homeless man, than we don’t understand the gospel and we’re not ready to receive the Lord’s Supper.