The Security of a Promise

   Northminster Presbyterian Church in Evanston, where I am an intern, recently made a decision to house the homeless.  After discussions with other area churches they realized a need to help families that have become homeless, especially in light of the recent economic crisis.  They, with other churches, founded a new local initiative called Family Promise.  Family Promise is part of a nation-wide program where church take turns housing recently homeless families so that the children and parents can be kept together and have access to their schools and workplaces.
    The church has been enthusiastic of its support for this program.  The church helped the new program purchase cots, curtains, toys and all of the things that would be necessary to create a temporary home for the people we are trying to help. This week was the first week of the program in Evanston but we found ourselves setup and ready but without families.
    We could easily become discouraged that, perhaps, this is a bad program or disillusioned that there is not need of the program.  What I have seen at Northminster, however, is excitement.  We realized that, even though there was the hiccup of no participants this week, we could do this.  We setup the church and had all of the volunteers and money in place for our turn.  We did it!
    It turned out that it was a test run, but the test run had purpose it proved that we could do it and it proved that we were faithful in our promise, even if there were not yet families to accept the help.  I’m reassured that there are applications turned in, there is a great need, and that the churches are ready.  Come our next turn hosting the program will be running smoothly and there will be people living in our church.
    Isn’t this like God’s promises?  God promises us love.  God promises us life.  God promises us faithfulness.  Northminster remained faithful to its promise and so does God hold faithful the promises that she makes.  The family that was lined up, from what I understand, became nervous about this new program.  Perhaps they were embarrassed.  Perhaps they were afraid that we would not live up to the promise we have made.
    It seems that we have become accustomed to fellow humans not living up to their promises.  We have become used to unfaithfulness and disappointment.  What God offers us is a steadfast, ironclad promise.  This promise is expressed in scripture and should be expressed through communities of faith.  As a church -as a community of faith, we must be faithful to one another, to humanity-at-large, to all of creation, and to our Almighty God.