In Galatians 2:10, we read “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Do these words sting you like they do me? Are you, like me, convicted of a lack of concern – at the very least a lack of prayerful concern in this area? I am. Mea culpa – I have not been as sensitive as I could be about these things. The neighbors God has put around me are always there that his love might be revealed!
A few weeks back we had a speaker here at Concordia University St. Paul who labels herself “lower class”. It was a very enlightening talk – she brought to my attention several things I had not considered – and many others I have considered but quickly forget – about the challenges that face people who are, as she put it, “experiencing poverty”. I had a chance to email her later on and she suggested that I get in touch with a man from our university campus who she had been most impressed with – the janitor, Keith Horrigan. She told me that when she had been on campus, a bit nervous about her speaking engagement here, Keith had noticed her and very helpfully and kindly guided her to where she needed to be. Keith ended up attending the talk (or “convocation”), which he told me later he never does at Concordia, and she pointed him out afterwards, heaping praise on him for noticing her and helping her.
It turns out that Keith to would label himself as “lower class” – and he happens to be a member of a local LC-MS congregation. I had lunch with Keith a few weeks back and heard the remarkable story of how God saved him in his late twenties. Growing up in a Catholic family, he had lost his faith very early on before Christ pulled him out of his pit. One of the many interesting things I learned from Keith is that he is very well read when it comes to books about Christian spirituality. He told me that right now he is working his way through the Philokalia, a spiritual classic in the Eastern church (which he says he thinks gets a bit wacky at times, but has much of great worth). He is also a poet. What follows is his poem “My Gomorrah”, which he gave me permission to publish here.