there i was in all of my brokenness staring at a room full of people who knew who they were.

we were seated in downtown toronto, amongst dirty streets and unknown beats people were dancing to their own drums while i sat helplessly by, unsure of the moves. these street people had found a home in Sanctuary, a converted old church dedicated to breathing people back into Christ and art back into faith.

i meet audrey, who loves cats and fish and dogs and paints them at the drop-in. she stands there in her lopsided red cap with her cross-eyed smile and shares with me her love for painting. then there is ken, who paints brilliant abstract pieces with a twisted hand from his perch in his wheelchair. i buy one of ken’s pieces. he smiles so large it splashes colour around the whole room. cathy loves to have her picture taken. she dances while her husband plays the guitar, and i snap pictures. she claps her hands and her blue eyes tell me thank you.

a cracked out crack-head stands up to say thanks over communion. he breaks the bread, takes it, and sits down. i’m dumbfounded. by most churches’ standards, this would be heresy. for him, it is grace.

prostitutes sell their poetry; thieves steal the show with their acting; i sit in a corner and beg God to strip me of my facade.




  1. anomi said,

    July 24, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    wow, what a great experience. Did you write an article on this?

  2. anomi said,

    July 24, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    ps emily your facade is only kindness, enjoyment and laughter, that I can see…

  3. Melanie said,

    July 24, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    wow, em…this is once again powerful. what a picture of grace. I have so much to learn…

    love, Mel

  4. Teneale said,

    July 24, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    That sounds like a changing and challenging experience. It reminds me that Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors and theives and sinners and loved them. He didn’t have time for the fakeness and hypocrisy for Pharisees. Sometimes its hard not to be a Pharisee. Love you.

  5. abbagirl74 said,

    July 26, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    you never cease to amaze me.

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