They call their worship “Holy Chaos” at Haywood Street in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

LLYC Directors traveled to Asheville recently to tour several camps in the area in the spirit of learning from our peers. We also visited Haywood Street, where their mission is  to love and care for the homeless, the working poor, and people struggling with addiction. Every Wednesday, Haywood offers a meal to the homeless community—and not your stereotypical soup kitchen meal. They make everything from scratch, or they partner with restaurants around the area to provide delicious food.

They also eat together at the same tables—a summer camp director sitting next to a homeless woman struggling with addiction sitting next to a guy working two minimum wage jobs sitting next to a church volunteer. The church aims to be with people rather than merely do good things for them.

After the meal, many people stayed for a worship, often because they were leading some portion of the service. Most of the volunteers were either working poor or homeless, but there were a few business professionals, stay-at-home moms or dads, and church staff. It was beautiful, and I was moved to tears as we worshiped together.

This church offered hope for for people are battling addiction, hope for those who needed a meal, and hope for those who needed to worship on a Wednesday afternoon.

During dinner and during the worship service–both of which felt very much like worship–I kept remembering the greatest commandments. Jesus told us to love God and love your neighbor.

I will be honest. I was uncomfortable at times, but I was also encouraged by simply taking part in this worship. My prayer is that we will be able to love our neighbors this Christmas season (and beyond). God’s people are always more important than our comfort, and Hope is always worth giving to our neighbors.

Read Luke 10:25-37 and discuss with your family or friends:

  • Who is your neighbor?
  • Who in your life needs some hope?
  • How can you participate in showing them the hope of Christ?
  • Where in your life do you need hope? How can you receive the hope of Jesus in these areas?
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