[Links and outtakes from news reports, with the thoughts they inspired]
For more than 10 years, the homeless woman slept on the same plastic bus stop bench at a busy intersection in the San Fernando Valley, no matter how cold it was or if it was raining. The 67 year old woman, described by one church volunteer who saw her regularly as the “sweetest lady on the street,” was nestled in her regular spot early Thursday when the unthinkable happened: A man came out of a nearby drug store, doused her with a flammable liquid and set her ablaze.
The infant Jesus had a spirit informed
By all that he would survey from the Cross-
That place of God-perfected human knowing from whence he would endure
Every moment of the suffering
Of all the hearts,
In all the people,
Through all the moments
Of all the worlds,
In every universe of God’s creation.
This was the knowledge that he brought
To each encounter-
He saw the child in the careworn man;
And in the care-free child the man
Bowed down with sad, regretful memories,
Dust to dust.
He saw the woman at the well.
He knew the dry depths of unrequited love
She drew upon,
Hoping to quench her spirit’s thirst
By streams of passion flowing
Through a wasteland of adulteries,
That left behind no trace
He saw the hearth-less one,
Herself contained within
A vessel that the wizened wisdom
Of the world despised,
Seeming exposed and cold.
One bench, suspended, was her castle seat;
Whereon she dwelt in cryptic, sweet communion,
Weaving warm tapestries of life-sustaining pride,
Woven of scenes that she alone remembered,
she and her Immanuel.
Until, unbidden, out of some place of evil
Poured a stream of flammable hate,
Which the dark fire of evil set to burn,
Reducing the inward hearth of her communion
To a ruin of loveless darkness.
Why hell thus pours its fury on a woman scorned, God knows,
From one he sent into its heart of evil.
So that, when nameless evil sets alight
The last resort of homeless human pride,
He is the first respondent on the scene
Restoring life, as He is life restored, to all
Who choose to know Him.