I’m back from holidays! And I know I say this after every holiday, but it is good to be back. And as happened with my last holiday, it seems like a lot has happened since I left. The building still looks the same, but I guess there is a lot to come back to and take care of.
The least of which isn’t the fact that we have a guest living on the church’s front door again.
And many times when we mention that a homeless person has chosen to rest their head on the front steps of the church, we naturally groan and think “not again” as we bang our heads on the wall thinking about how we take care of the situation. While we want to be hospitable, caring, and accommodating, we also have to worry about the safety of our renters, the comfort of our neighbours, and the over all usability of our building.
It is a tough situation, really.
And while this isn’t our first run in with people living on the street, it doesn’t make it any easier. But in faith, I believe we can figure out what we can do.
Seems like a coincidence that these particular readings come to us at a time such as this. The second reading at least specifically talks about the underpriviledged in society and how we treat them, which I would think isn’t much unlike our situation now. But often it is an “easier said than done” kind of scenario. Like I said, our knee-jerk reaction is usually one of inconvenience and not wanting to deal with it.
So really, scripture in this case isn’t making it any easier.
But we can decide to love. We can decide to empathize. We can decide to put ourselves in the shoes of another and try to understand their position and needs that they might need help with.
And at the same time, we have permission to not feel guilty when we cannot help those who decide not to help themselves. We are called to love, support, and serve. We are not called to succeed at all of them.
I am not saying that we shoo people away. I am saying that whatever it is that we do needs to be done out of love and faith in God’s promise of equality and welcome. And we need to act out of the best interest of the other. And yeah I know, that still doesn’t make it any easier.
I will be doing something in the next couple days, so I do covet your prayers through this. However, I do believe that God is present both with our community, my call to serve, and in the gentleman who is making our building his temporary home. I do believe that God will be revealed in our interactions, and God will be at work in our relationship.
It is in that belief that I feel we must act. It is in that belief that I feel empowered to act. And it is in that belief that I feel informed on how to act.
Through it all I give thanks to God for challenging us, strengthening us, and surrounding us with community and support. Because quite honestly, we need it.
Have a great remainder of your week!