Here at Grace Capital City, we hold justice as a core value that we desire to live out as disciples of Christ. We believe that when others encounter the justice heart of Jesus, we will see the movement of God’s kingdom on earth. In God’s kingdom we see the unconventional become reality: the last shall be first, those without power are seen and elevated, and healing is offered to all. To us, this is part of what justice looks like. In the Fall of 2017, we began to partner with a local organization, Christ House, to seek transformation and justice in our city.
As a ministry present in D.C. for over 30 years, the mission of Christ House is to provide comprehensive and compassionate health care to sick, homeless persons in the District of Columbia, and to assist them in addressing critical issues to help break the cycle of homelessness. Our nation’s capital has one of the highest homeless populations of any major U.S. city, with 124 individuals homeless for every 10,000 residents.
Homelessness is caused by a messy array of issues: unaffordable housing, unemployment, mental health issues, addiction, and relational conflict to name a few. Christ House seeks to meet people’s immediate needs and provide them with opportunities to improve their life in a lasting way. If you want to witness transformation in Washington, DC, Christ House offers a glimpse of the Kingdom’s redemption.
As followers of Jesus, what is the appropriate response to homelessness? I am drawn to the end of Matthew 25 where we hear Jesus speak of sitting on the throne of judgment and separating the sheep from the goats: the righteous from the unrighteous. To the righteous he states, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ When asked where they saw him, he shares, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Then to the unrighteous, he condemns those who failed to care for the least of these, noting that they failed to care for Christ.
As a practical means of blessing our neighbors, GCC held an Advent Drive in December of 2017 and collected over 140 Christmas gifts of clothing and towels for member’s of Christ House’s Kairos Program, which provides long term housing and discipleship for their patients. As Christians we will never truly see and love Jesus unless we learn to see and love the ‘least of these’.
At Christ House each individual that enters the door is seen, known, and cared for with the utmost compassion and dignity. To be homeless and living on the streets is to be dehumanized and denied one’s basic needs, but the gift of Jesus offers us the opportunity to reconnect to our shared humanity. My personal time volunteering at Christ House has included a variety of activities ranging from serving meals to painting Easter eggs. Each time that I visit, I am gifted by the deep well of joy that staff and patients display.
In front of Christ House’s building you can see a statue of a kneeling Jesus in the sitting area where the patients often spend time. When I walk by I am humbly reminded: Jesus sees everyone. Let us pray for the church to share Christ’s vision, and let us commit to seeking justice for vulnerable, resilient communities as we engage God’s kingdom.
If you desire to interact with the hope of God’s kingdom, join us to serve dinner at Christ House and receive their monthly newsletter! As a justice partner of Grace Capital City, we have the privilege of serving dinner there every second Friday of the month from 4pm-7pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.