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Thursday, March 28, 2013

From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long

Dear Inner Circle,

A big boofy bloke with thick man legs revealed in all their glory by a short white mini skirt yelled at me on my way in today. A long wig seemed to match the mini skirt. He raised one of his thick, muscly arms in the air and said, "Stop right there. Don't take another step until you tell me that you love me." "OK" I said, "I love you". "But will you love me forever?" he asked. "Probably" I said. He/she walked past Wayside toward the Cross. That's one happy customer for the day.

Regularly homeless men fall in love with women from overseas via some website. Time and again I've seen men send money overseas that should have paid for rent or food. Talking with such a fellow yesterday, I couldn't hide my concern for the man and my cynicism about his true love. He was keen to prove to me that his girlfriend was real and so he showed me pictures of the most explicit kind that she'd sent to him. I tried to tell him that these photos were professionally done and were certainly not the kind of photo that would be sent to someone with whom you'd never had a face to face meeting. He told me a story that I've heard many times. The woman is coming to Australia as soon as she can but for now she's had a traffic accident and needs hospital treatment. He showed me photos of a hospital in Nigeria that proved this story was genuine. I felt sad because the need of love is real and right but he'd just sent $300 off to Nigeria which is a fortune for a homeless man. The man was certain that he'd found true love but apart from ask some questions, there wasn't much I could do. Luckily this man isn't a problem for me to solve but a person for me to meet.

We are looking for someone to join the Wayside team as Indigenous Men's Worker. The role involves providing support to Indigenous men through centre-based services and an activities program. If you, or someone you know, would like to apply, you can do so here.

When I was a young social worker a mother and her boyfriend tied up an 18 month old boy and hung him from a tree where they both used him as a punching bag. The little boy lived although he was paralysed down one side of his body. No part of my training had equipped me to deal with cruelty like this and my deepest, secret and unexpressed doubt was about where God was while this little boy was being so brutally treated. It took me many years to ditch the all seeing, all powerful, all stations to Hornsby God in favour of the God of love. God was hanging from that tree. That's my Easter message for this year.

We've got our "Service of Shadows" tonight at 6pm which incorporates a foot washing ceremony. It will be short but powerful. On Good Friday we have a service at 10am and then on Sunday at 10am. On Easter Saturday I've got a Christening in Wahroonga at 11am, a wedding at the Botanic Gardens at 12.30pm and then another wedding in Bowral at 3pm. What was I thinking? The things you do for love.

I expect to get hundreds of messages today telling me that many have gone on leave over Easter. If you're taking a break, stay safe. We need every member of our inner circle safe and sound.

Thanks for being part of this inner circle,

Rev Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross

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