Watchmen in the Night

25 Feb

A local neighboring community of faith,1st Presbyterian Church in downtown San Diego just finished a pilot 6 week shelter program for folks who call the street their home.  We all came together not due to our rich experience but out of a common belief that the good news of the Kingdom of God is good news to all…including the poor.


The hope was as we journeyed into this that we would make new friends, share laughs and stories together, and even find our convictions challenged and maybe strengthened through this process.  I couldn’t help but get really excited about all the people I would get to meet and love on…maybe even one of them would come to know Jesus! Little did I know God’s purposes and lessons for me in all of this.

My shift at the shelter was graveyard. Mondays from 12am-5am. My interaction with the guests included being the bearer of bad news with an alarm at 445 AM and preparing breakfast for everyone. To be honest, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be in the middle of the action, building relationships, laughing and playing games together etc…. What the heck am I doing sitting at a desk all night while everyone else has gone to bed??


God graciously began to let the scales fall from my eyes and to see things from a fresh angle. Love in another form.  I’m learning love doesn’t just mean affection, but it also means responsibility, faithfulness, and presence. I really sensed God planting the thought of a “watchman” in my head during the night. The Hebrew word typically used for this concept in the Old Testament is shamar  which means to keep guard, to watch, and to protect.  I feel like I discovered a stewardship responsibility to be present and “watch” during this time.  Almost like this became a holy sacred space for me and God’s saying, “David, it’s actually an honor that you get to pray over these precious people, these “beloved” of mine while they sleep.”


There is something really beautiful about hearing the snoring sounds of a people estranged to having a roof over there head and warm place to shelter there bodies.  They were safe. I started smiling as I looked at Curtis fully engulfed into his pillow.  I wonder if he’s dreaming? I wonder if he knows that Jesus is lying right next to him? I wonder… how Jesus views me when I’m sound asleep??  I wonder how many times He “watches” and blesses me while I drool on my pillow🙂


I think Jesus is the great watchmen. I think He listens to our silly sounds in the night, smiling upon us as we rest in the sacred space of our warm beds. I am getting a lesson in “watchmenship” and it’s giving me life.

The latest: we recently had a conversation with some of the staff at 1st Presbyterian and they shared how one of the guests just got a full time job and 3 others are now regularly attending a worship gathering on Sundays at their church.  


One Response to “Watchmen in the Night”

  1. ele March 1, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Psalm 130

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