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“Beloved, we are God’s children now.” —1 John 3:2

Sunday, July 12

The Lord’s Day

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Minute for Mission: San Francisco Theological Seminary

 

Rev. Paul Gaffney leading prayer at a 2011 memorial service for the homeless Courtesy of Ron Green

 

Rev. Paul Gaffney leading prayer at a 2011 memorial service for the homeless

 

Courtesy of Ron Green

 

For San Francisco Theological Seminary graduate Rev. Paul Gaffney, Tuesday afternoons always start by gathering with homeless people for reflection and prayer. The meeting is followed by a communal dinner prepared by the group.

Gaffney began inviting people outside of the homeless community to join in the Tuesday-evening dinners, but almost all were hesitant to come. Time and time again, the response was, “How can I take a meal from someone in need?” His response is always the same: “It’s not about the food. It’s about presence.”

“God shows up in the space between people,” Gaffney says. “God is evident in the time that we spend, in our listening, and in our presence with those who are suffering.” He cites his continued clinical pastoral education studies at the seminary for helping him learn how to accompany people without pushing, pulling, or fixing—an important part of being present.

The evening meals are just one of Gaffney’s many efforts, as the chaplain of the Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy, to nurture a spiritual presence on the streets of San Rafael, California. Other activities include providing spiritual support to inmates at a local prison who are battling addiction, helping a local wellness center stay in touch with its participants, and providing Friday-morning coffee and conversation to the local homeless population.

Gaffney leaves us with the call to practice our faith by giving others our time, a listening ear, and our company as they journey through life.

Rachel Howard, director of communications, San Francisco Theological Seminary

Let us pray

God in heaven, we thank you for your compassionate presence in our lives and ask that you help us to be a compassionate presence to the people around us, regardless of who we may encounter. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

2 Sam. 6:1–5, 12b–19
“Let All the World in
Every Corner Sing”
GTG 636, HB 22, PH 468

Ps. 24
“Lift Up the Gates Eternal”
GTG 364, PH 177

Eph. 1:3–14
“You Belong to Christ”
GTG 492

Mark 6:14–29
“There’s a Wideness
in God’s Mercy”
GTG 435, HB 110, PH 298

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 103; 150
First Reading 1 Samuel 17:50-18:4
Second Reading Romans 10:4-17
Gospel Reading Matthew 23:29-39
Evening Psalms 117; 139

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