Coram Deo - Before the Face of God

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The Spirit of God is always strongest where the most vulnerable and disenfranchised meet.

Posted: May 17, 2017

I used to live around the bay area of San Francisco. Days were spent visiting different sights that make the San Francisco area so attractive. Areas called Presidio and Fisherman’s Wharf come to mind and one name stuck out to me. It was called Tenderloin. The name sounded familiar as my family had been talking about cuts of beef or pork. Tenderloin is a very expensive cut of meat. It is often thought to be the juiciest and tender of all the cuts of meat; thus the name “Tenderloin.” It was difficult to understand the reason behind naming a rather disheveled, undesirable part of San Francisco, Tenderloin. There were a lot of services for those who are challenged by lack of housing and good health. Half -way houses, old churches, food pantries and free health clinic’s try to meet the spiritual and corporal needs of those living in Tenderloin. There was a lot of crime and problems in that part of the city. There are many urban legends on how it got this particular name. Here is what this means to me. The tenderloin cut of beef is located in a rather exposed part of the animal. Located behind the smallest ribs, these muscles are important for balance and turning. They are not located in the dominant part of the animal. The tenderloin is wedged in between other larger muscle groups. As we live Coram Deo, before the face of God, we are called to make the story of the poor, widow and fatherless our story. The economy of God always has as a priority the wellbeing of Tenderloin. The Spirit of God is always strongest where the most vulnerable and disenfranchised meet. It is as if our heavenly Father’s most prized cut is His Tenderloin. We may choose to live in another district of town so as to not be bothered by Tenderloin. We may build malls and nice shops so we do not have to meet those who live in Tenderloin. We may send our children to other schools so as to not have to deal with Tenderloin. And then, by God’s grace, we wake up and see how petty and broken our worlds have become. We are so much poorer because we have subjugated Tenderloin as a place where people like us would never go. God calls us to recognize Tenderloin; to recognize the broken and alienated parts of our own lives that need God’s healing touch. Only then can we experience the finest God has to offer, Coram Deo.

By His grace, Keith Reed, Director of Worship & Liturgy