Love God, love your neighbour. Those are the only two thing that matter. People find all sorts of ways of obeying the first command. The second, we try and live out every day in our life at the Crypt.
Every morning staff meet for prayer in our beautiful chapel; it used to be the boiler-house, and we still think of it as the power-house for what we do, because we haven’t got the strength to do this amazing, fulfilling, heart-breaking work. We pray for strength to persevere in Jesus’ name; we pray to be vulnerable enough to have compassion, in Jesus’ name. We pray to do all this work in Jesus’ name; in being like him, trying to see his face in the face of everyone who comes through our doors, however frustrated, angry, outcast, needy in every way.
Jesus said I have come so that you can have life in all its fullness. Our morning prayers are a time of laughter and of tears; a sign of life being lived to the full. Our work is about offering the fullness of life to our neighbours who come to us for help. They come to the Crypt because their lives have broken down to the point where, as Jesus was, they are homeless; their relationships have broken down, they just can’t manage, they are crushed by life, desperately weary. Jesus says ‘Come to me.’ And they come to us. And we welcome them in his name.
We don’t preach at them. If they want that, there are lots of places they can go. That’s not what the Crypt is for. It’s about welcome; about being a safe and comfortable place to rest, to eat, to be clothed. But it’s also more than that. It’s about providing all those things in the most loving way we know how, because these are our brothers and sisters, our children and our parents; slightly crazed brother’s maybe; smelly parents in some cases; angry and manipulative kids in others. We’re not a very respectable family. But we work together knowing that we are loved, infinitely loved, by God our father. And that means that we are - all of us - infinitely lovable.
And so we are here, loving our neighbours - your neighbours, on your behalf, in the name of Jesus.
May he bless you, as he blesses us.