This morning I met Oscar and Daryl, two homeless men standing around the Lutheran church where I drop off bread for their food program. I brought them each a piece of cake and a bottle of water, and asked them what else they needed. Oscar wanted off the streets, he wanted a place to live and get his life back on track. Daryl was fine with simply the cake.
I told Oscar there were people and communities working to end homelessness, but it wasn't going to happen over night. Perhaps, in my utopian world, we can end this blight on the human race. I believe we can.
It begins with getting to know the people who are in this horrible situation, listen to their stories, and have some sympathy. It is too easy to ignore the homeless. Perhaps we are scared of them, insensitive to their needs, or simply swamped in our own struggle to stay off the streets. Each time I have been guilty of ignoring their plight, I am quickly reminded of the golden rule, To do unto others as you would want others to do unto you (Mt. 7:12).
They might smell or be intimidating, but they are someone's child, if only God's. They have a story, they have a soul, they have a need for our help. What can you do? What can I do? Treat them as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. A good place to begin is offering a prayer for their health and safety. And then pray for your own strength to understand and sympathize. And then pray for the end of homelessness. Sounds like a lot, but that's what it is going to take to resolve this issue.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”