Demons of the air tickle the timpani of all ears readied to hear their argument: If God did not desire you to judge, why did he compose you superior to the ragged rabble roaming the streets, shopping the dumpsters, shooting up what remains of their body, God’s holy temple desecrated?
And also a demons-of-the-air-approved silent superiority, its good and faithful selective inerrant thumbs down on shepherding pastors making room at the table set for all stamped unclean–lepers and tattooed women, smudged children, the uninvited unwashed storming the borders of propriety, multicolored invaders of invested peace.
All the demon-denounced Disenfranchised, unappreciative of tax dollars, indifferent to degrees of enlightenment, only at home displaced to corners praying Lord be merciful I’m sorry forgive me sorry sorry forgive forgive . . .
Saint Francis knew demons, as do Pastor John, Ms. Lynn, Jersey and Tom, Olga, Pearl, Katherine and Wanda, Keith, Kaylene, Dale, and Pastor Phil knowing first hand the insatiable demons of hate, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, sadness. Thanks be to God for the wing-clipped angels of City Light Community Ministries countering the demons with love, pardon, faith, hope, light, joy. Even with Bob, fallen laughing, cast flailing into the waiting arms of Mr. Battles: “So, John, is Bob behaving?” Yes, pastors will lie to save a soul.
So each mealtime, Pastor John asks for prayer requests. Hands rise to heaven at every table–a night safe from the street, mercy for a child wandering, a job consideration, ease from pain, peace that passes all understanding. John takes a small French loaf of Food Bank bread, breaks it, and offers a prayer for all, a laying on of hands, the touch of healing. Amen. Let it be so. And all, in unison, reply Amen. Let’s eat!
*From the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry, 2017,