Christ in the eyes of a beggar

The Rev. Jared Cramer, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, said he "saw Christ" in the eyes of a beggar on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids.
Feb 22, 2014


Cramer recounts the story in his "Care with the Cure of Souls" blog and as part of a locally produced book.

"A parishioner of mine, David Theune, has been working on a project for a while," Cramer explains in his blog. "He, along with over 200 people in the Spring Lake community, read the book, 'Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy' by Emily Bazelon. Several community initiatives came out of the project, one of the most interesting of which was the idea to put together a book with stories of empathy shared by people in our community."

Cramer tells of his struggle with coming across people begging on city streets and how he would pass them by. That was, until one evening as he and his wife were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.

CLICK HERE to read the blog post, "I See Christ."

The opinions expressed by local bloggers are not necessarily shared by the Grand Haven Tribune or its employees. They are the sole opinion of the bloggers, who are not employed by or compensated by the Tribune.



Former Grandhavenite

"It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" as Jesus says in the book of Matthew. Another memorable bit of advice brought to us by that same wise Jewish carpenter is "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." I'm not a religious man personally but there's no shortage of good stuff in the Bible as well as the holy books of most religions. In some of the Nordic countries the religious parties and the economically left-wing factions in parliament are completely on the same page policy-wise in terms of advocating a strong social safety net supported by relatively high taxes. The "social justice" aspects of Christianity seem to be in the midst of a resurgence, and Pope Francis focusing on poverty probably has a lot to do with that.

Once in Chicago as I was heading into a Dunkin Donuts, an apparently homeless guy asked me for spare change so that he could buy some food. I invited him to come in with me instead, where I bought him a coffee and a muffin. We ate and had an interesting chat, although I had to talk the manager out of kicking us out.

The guy seemed very intelligent. Assuming he was telling the truth, he'd had all kinds of adventures in the army and just never managed to transition back to civilian life, but he said he lived on the streets partially by choice as well because of the freedom. He had a really deep knowledge of literature essentially just from hanging out in the library so much during the day as many homeless folks do, and it was completely surreal to get recommendations of some good 1000+ page Russian novels from a guy dressed in rags who'd been asking me for change a few minutes earlier. Another guy in Chicago got a couple bucks out of me as well as a laugh with his refreshingly honest sign reading, "Need spare change to buy a blunt and 40 oz King Cobra."


Thank you Lord for speaking to me today.


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