Have you ever slept under a bridge so you could be at church?
So you could sing for the Lord?
This is my friend, Raven, who did just that!
Raven Singing at Church under the Bridge!
Listen to the song!
Read my blog post about him beneath it, too!
This is my friend Raven. He lives behind a store and fast food restaurant and near some apartments and this old hotel. He wanders. He walks. He can disappear from the radar.
Yes, he leaves his things in a pile and often they get stolen. He’s someone I’ve known for a while but of late, I’ve found my steps nearing his steps. And I’ve discovered an old soul, and I’ve found a friend whose life lingers with unreleased pain, tears, and even sorrow.
He teased me back at Christmas for kicking over his beer when I stopped to see him behind the gas station. He waved at me another time from the ground, drunk at noon, with his head on the concrete. But when I said hi to him, he lifted his arm, and I put a blanket under his head.
Last week, I almost ran over him in the parking lot, causing him to jump. He was afraid of me for a second, until he remembered he knew me.
Many times when I’ve tried to speak to him, due to the amount of beer in his body, the conversations would end with me doing most of the talking. And mostly, his red eyes were frozen in a constant stare at the ground.
He has moments though that touch my soul like no other. And today was one of those moments. He came to the bridge the night before and slept under the bridge, so he could be at Church under the Bridge for service.
He ate breakfast. He stumbled some. He wobbled a little. But he mingled, his head low, and he spoke to me, “Ms. Pam. These steal toed boots hurt my feet. I could use some tennis shoes.”
“You sure could. We can get you some.”
His eyes welled up. “You are nice to me.”
“Well, you are my friend. I want you to know that. I know that when you were a little boy you didn’t hope to live behind buildings and outside, and I know Christ can redeem your soul. He does call to your heart, or you wouldn’t be here this morning.”
We chatted some more, and I encouraged him with some stern words, but words of hope. I feel brave when I speak with Raven, like time is short. But I don’t know why.
During worship at the bridge, a friend of mine who had come with his grown daughter to the service asked me, “If I gave him some money, would he go and buy some beer?”
I smiled, “Yes, I’m sure of it. But he could use some new tennis shoes.”
My friend and his daughter left the bridge and drove to the store, returning with some new shoes for my friend, Raven. They took action, they cared, and they met the immediate need.
When I gave them to Raven, he shook his head. “Wow, that’s was fast. Thank you.”
“Oh, my friend over there got them. He’s a good friend of mine, too.”
But the best part of the morning came when we received a most wonderful and incredible glimpse of victory in Jesus at the bridge. See, Raven sang for us, a solo, a beautiful song that made me cry. His words were clear. The lyrics were filled with hope. The song was full of praise for Christ. It was an outcry of a hungry heart for Christ.
Now, all things are not perfect at the bridge. All things are not wonderful. But at that moment, in the few minutes Raven stood on the trailer at the microphone, life was beautiful and Christ’s beauty became so evident!
Pray for Raven. The battle is real. The desperate need of grace is so needed, too. Which is something we all need. May the story of Raven’s walk keep adding layers of hope, mercy and faith with each step. May my steps add encouragement to Raven’s walk, too.
And may the victory come as we draw near to God! As we sing and praise our Lord with our voices!