Advertisement

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Make Love Not War: A Christmas Story

Pastor Rosa sits in class with some of the children she has rescued.

I promised you a Christmas story.  This one is a Christmas story in several unique ways.  It’s a story about God’s grace not as a distant ideal but as an embodied, tangible, very personal encounter. And it’s a story about how God makes God’s home with those who are most aware of their need.  This magical thing, when it happens, has the power to stop violence in its tracks. The ceaseless striving for more in the world around us?  The warring in our own hearts? For at least a moment they find rest.  For at least a little while they are obliged to stop their violence and pay homage to the God who has been born in their midst.  This story is about just this sort of miracle.  It is about how God met one ordinary woman in the place of her deepest need, and transformed her own, very personal war into a love that saves.

Advertisement

Meet Pastor Rosa.  Rosa had a son.  One day, Rosa’s son, a bus driver, was shot to death by a couple of inner-city teenagers.  Albert T. Mills became yet another casualty of the war on our streets, a young life full of promise prematurely snuffed out by one meaningless, random and irreversible act of violence.  His killers?  They were young lives, too, the only difference being that their only teacher and mother and father had been the dead-end reality of drugs and gang violence in a blighted inner-city neighborhood.

Pastor Rosa in her inconsolable pain and grief had a choice.  Her Christian faith had taught her to forgive. But what did forgiveness look like in her circumstances?

She decided to minister God’s love to children who came from the very same neighborhoods as her son’s killers.  That resolve led her to found in honor of her son the Albert T. Mills Enrichment Center, a holistic, pre-school environment for the poorest children from Atlanta’s inner-city homes.  For thirteen years now, Pastor Rosa has sacrificed even a salary in order to find and rescue these most vulnerable of children, providing for their most basic needs, equipping them with an education and investing in their spiritual development.

Advertisement

Recently, a friend of mine learned that many of the children at the center are without even coats or blankets- in apartments that are often without heat.  She and her friends managed to marshal a large donation of jackets and blankets, so that each and every child received their very own coat.  Since that time, God’s provision has made itself known in a string of similar “loaves and fishes” moments: “On Thanksgiving, a group of women decided to do Thanksgiving baskets for all the families.  On Monday, they had 42 baskets. Our goal was one for each of the student’s families and the staff – or about 60 baskets. So we were 20 short. On Tuesday, additional folks started coming up with baskets and turkeys and volunteers and the long and the short of it is that they ended up with 74 baskets! Plus some extra turkeys on top of that.  Truly a loaves and fishes moment,” my friend wrote in a recent e-mail.

Advertisement

I would have to agree.  And this, I suspect, is the very sort of thing Christmas is about. The tangible abundance of God’s provision in our neediest places.  The nearness of a Love that really can empower us to make love not war.

You can catch Pastor Rosa’s whole story, told in her own words, here- and it’s really moving, I would add:  YouTube Preview Image

To learn about how you might get involved in the work of the Center, either by financially giving or volunteering, contact Pastor Rosa at atmec@yahoo.com.

Merry Christmas!

 

Previous Posts

In the Clear: Meditations on Cleaning House
The last few weeks have comprised a massive de-cluttering initiative in preparation for a home renovation, as we clear out junk from our basement, attic and just about anywhere useless stuff has managed to accrue. What Do We Throw ...

posted 2:04:34pm May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

For All Restless Souls—The Love-Hate Memoir of One Churchgoing Gal
My review of Rachel ...

posted 12:13:35pm May. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Upcoming Review of Rachel Held-Evans' Latest Book
Yesterday I submitted a final, much-revised manuscript for The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Addictions (InterVarsity Press, 2015)—which hopefully means I can be back at this intersection between God and life at ...

posted 3:55:35pm May. 12, 2015 | read full post »

"The Power of Introductions," Via Bruce Strom and Gospel Justice
I've featured the work of my friend and inspiration Bruce Strom, a lawyer who directs the organization Gospel Justice Initiative, at this intersection before. Bruce once had a cushy job as the senior partner at a corporate law firm, but he gave ...

posted 11:06:21am May. 05, 2015 | read full post »

5 Spiritual Lessons from Editing The Recovery-Minded Church
The edits to The Recovery-Minded Church: Loving and Ministering to People with Additions (IVP) have been substantial and time-consuming, thanks to a ...

posted 10:23:02am Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.