The movie The Soloist tells the story of the friendship between Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man with an undiagnosed mental illness, and Steven Lopez, an LA Times columnist. In one scene Steven spends the night on the streets with Nathaniel. Rats scurry around them on the street as people weep, laugh, brawl, jabber, stagger, and embrace. They curl up in sleeping bags, huddle in stairwells, hunker down over meals. Meanwhile, Nathaniel recites the Lord's Prayer. His voice floats over the street's madness and tenderness, its beauty and squalor. "Thy kingdom come," Nathaniel says, and a woman screams at a man, flails her fists at his chest. "Thy will be done," he says, and two men share a cigarette. "On earth as it is in heaven," as a church group hands out boxed meals.
We're left to ponder—is Nathaniel asking for the kingdom to come to these streets, or is he announcing that the kingdom is already present? Wheat growing beside tares, pearls buried in stony fields, glory hidden in clay ...1