In the eyes of the world, April 1 is a day for tricking people into believing the ridiculous and making foolish decisions. Such cunning made fools of our first parents, causing original sin and bringing ruin to the human race. Mankind has followed from that time to this, his own faulty reasoning, based on human understanding, base assumptions, passions, earthly evidence, carnal appetites, diabolical disorder and selfish ambition, resulting in ignorance of real life, superstition that denies the truth, and sins that miss the mark of reality. Foolishness is defined as that which is without good sense or wisdom; silly, unwise, ridiculous, absurd, and embarrassing.
In the late 1980s, people began to come to Williamsport in need of a better environment in which to recover from abuse and unhealthy lifestyles, to find a better community to raise their children, to escape criminal elements and begin afresh. The impact of these people drew the attention of those in outreach ministry and the churches, that not only must there be assistance in the mundane concerns of living, but in spiritual direction and guidance, establishing good life upon true wisdom, not confusing life with living. Such a renewal must not only establish a change of environment, a new way of living unencumbered by former issues and temptations, but new life through and through, a way of life that is established on eternal truth, divine insight, and empowered by faith, hope, and love.
On April 1, 1988 Shepherd of the Streets was launched to counsel faith into the mix of the fears, frustrations, frenzies and foolishness of so many, so ill prepared, so naive. The United Churches of Lycoming County became the covering for that which has increased in the capacity to provide spiritual direction and physical aid, especially in the areas of health and safety, linking healing and protection to the grace of God, sowing the seeds of faith, hope, and love through the mercy and wisdom of God, providing deliverance from the imprisonments of untruth.
The ways and wisdom of this world, has made fools of those seeking real peace and well-being. The cross of Christ is foolishness to those who have been defrauded, deceived and demonized by the philosophies of this world, but it is the wisdom of God to provide power, providence and preservation to people of faith. The wisdom of God has made the wisdom of this world foolishness. Christ crucified is foolishness to the world, but for those who have faith the cross proclaims the salvation, redemption and deliverance of those imprisoned by falsehood and folly.
For the past 25 years, Shepherd of the Streets has been the arm of the churches of Lycoming County to reach beyond the material or monetary relief providing medicine and safety, healthy solutions and new beginnings, but also to show a way of truth and life, so that those whose mind and heart has been conformed to this age, may have the opportunity to be transformed by dynamic faith and renewal of the mind.
Faith matters, for without faith there is no hope of change. Faith matters, for without faith one is made a fool to repeat patterns of denial, disturbance and destruction.
- Smith is the Shepherd of the Streets, a ministry of United Churches of Lycoming County.