I can’t remember when I had last indulged in the magical dish known as Green Bean Casserole. Recently, I found myself at a potluck dinner. I passed by all the standards – the dependable mashed potatoes, the faithful coleslaw, that loyal bucket of KFC chicken – and then I spotted it. Just the sight and smell alone triggered a choir of angels to sing the doxology in my mind as I was instantly taken back, back to church potlucks as a kid and back to my own childhood dining room table. I don’t particularly love the taste of Green Bean Casserole, but that All-American entree has an undeniable power about it, a power to warm my heart and help me feel at home.
For the many women and men who live on the streets of Denver opening the door and entering into the living room of Network on a frigid winter night is a lot like Green Bean Casserole – a taste of home (without the French onion breath). As I stand beside the coffee machine and welcome newcomers, who fill up their cup, they release a hefty sigh of relief and say, “I’m so glad you guys are open. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Then there are our regular guests who make Network feel like a homecoming. Teresa brightens our day with her big smile. Gary, per usual, is giving everyone a hard time. Wayne stops in for a refill and a meaningful conversation. Max hits me up for a time of personal prayer and blessing. Tim, one of our regular volunteers, recently said, “I can’t tell you how much I need this place for my soul to feel sane.”
The words of Jesus echoes throughout the room here,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Jesus knew about the power of a place where the primary agenda is restorative rest and redemptive relationship. Jesus knew about the transformative power of Green Bean Casserole (or in our case a strong cup of dark roast).
In a world of chaos, lack of trust, and constant hustle Network is in the business of making up for lost time. If you didn’t have a childhood worth remembering or any early experience of safe and loving relationship, this community seeks to offer a new imagination and a new normal – one where trustworthy relationships are offered day after day after day.
As we approach the conclusion of another year, all of us here are thankful for you. Your support, donations, and prayer don’t just keep the lights on and the coffee hot, with your help you provide a community that many overlooked and lonely sisters and brothers call home.
Our prayer is that you experience the restorative rest and redemptive relationship of Christ throughout this holiday season.
You are seen. You are known. You are loved.
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