They call them”the projects” — and it just made me wonder how that name ever got attached to a set of buildings many call “home”. And better yet, what do the people who live in “the projects” feel about that designation and does it make them feel like “a” project?
Why does a simple three-letter word, “the”, before a word signal something in our brains to think differently about a situation? Does it “announce” to all listeners a certain distinction we need to be aware of? And are the people who live there categorized as “the” people …or “those” people?
I went to “the projects” tonight . I stood with “the” people. They have beautiful faces and names and children and “they” are people just like you and me who live in “the” neighborhoods east or west or north or south of “there”. Their street designation might not be labeled as a “sub-division” , yet they are truly sub-divided by others on a daily basis.
A mama and a daddy watching their kids with love …single mama’s doing the best they can …dad’s who don’t have adequate income, embarrassed or frustrated that they had to move out of “a” neighborhood … to “the projects”. Many who feel they have been abandoned or forgotten– or worse , labeled by someone else’s opinion — a label glued with cement.
And yet, there was music in the projects tonight …music ringing out with words like “God has not forgotten me” , “People from every nation and tribe …from generation to generation … we worship You!” …words spoken of blessing the children like Jesus did — pulling them up in His lap and daring anyone around Him not to neglect these precious little ones. These are not God’s ” projects” — these are His people! People that He loves with fighting fervor ! Oh no, He has not forgotten them or abandoned them! God was in the projects tonight! His Spirit was so real and present as the children danced and the mama’s and the daddy’s smiled and hands were raised to the One who doesn’t categorize or label or designate by neighborhood designations.
Luminaries were decorated and lit by little ones and placed in a circle to light up the night. And the Light of the World was in the middle of it all … illuminating our eyes with His love as “Amazing Grace” walked around the circle …each name colored on those luminary bags all lit up and lifted up because “they are precious in His sight” and how great was the Light on a dark night!
It was a luminary ceremony …a blessing over the children in our neighborhood as they start a new year of school — a blessing for their future — and I think my future is clear with this light from tonight …
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
Father God, forgive me ! You never forgot them — but sometimes I did!
Help me to walk with the poor and the needy …because I am one ! I’m love-poor and relationally needy. Light my path — and may my circle include all those you love!