A couple years ago, I met a homeless man. I say “met,” though in all actually, only our eyes engaged in the social introduction. I was running late to work and as I began driving onto the entrance ramp for 287 (I’m originally from Jersey… just the fact that I call it Jersey proves it), I saw this man in tattered rags (at best) trying to get a ride. I thought to myself, “I’m too busy, I’m already running late… besides, he probably smells really bad anyway.” Even before a moment had passed, I was convicted of my heinous attitude toward this man. Why the conviction? Well, while I was weak, wretched, and by all means a worm in the sight of a Holy God, Jesus Christ stepped in time, took on the appearance of humanity – His own fallen creation – and sought me out in love. Embracing me when I was vile, keeping me despite my rebel nature, and transforming me by His mighty power, I have something to sing about, because though I was once homeless, He’s placed in me the desire of a pilgrim: to go home.
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A lonely vagabond of low estate,
This wretched outcast of society –
In righteous rags he veils his wilting frame,
But fails to hide his filth and misery.
His salt-worn eyes cascade their ‘customed stain;
His body yearns the tender touch of grace,
Yet I, in my self-righteous holiness,
Condemn his soul to terror in that place
But with his face burned deeply in my mind,
My hardened heart, at last, begins to break,
For I was once this lonely vagabond
So lost within life’s carnal masquerade.
When in my need, a loving Stranger came,
And still I fail to ever love the same.