With permission, I snuck in and sat in the back (next to my wife!) of a kind friend’s seminar on homelessness today. “Snuck in” because it was Deeply Rooted, a women’s fellowship, worship and teaching gathering.
I had no idea Beth was going to discuss The Bonus Army [see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army ] or key issues of African-Americans immediately after the American Civil War as elements of history to help us understand homelessness.
Indeed, today, Veteran’s Day in the U.S., far too many vets are in deep trouble!
Jesus in Matthew chapter 25 lists 6 things we need to be concerned with if we profess to love God and neighbor; indeed if our attitudes and choices reflect being one of His or not:
Jailed / Prisoner
Though neither a veteran nor a person of color I have experienced all of these at various stages of my life with one exception. By God’s grace I’ve never lacked shelter. It is the one practical need that affects the others. It is the one connecting piece as to how one ends up in trouble regarding the other issues He lists.
Is it not obvious that if one is HOMELESS the rest become a challenge, sometimes even chronic problems in one’s life?
The thousands of emancipated former slaves and years later during the Great Depression, people of color as well as whites alike faced this most basic need, that of shelter.
“I was a stranger AND YOU TOOK ME IN”… when one has no place to live, no home. In both senses of the term “outsiders”.
As I have stated many times here in blog posts and other public discourse, if you don’t have access to clean water, decent food and clothing you may well get sick. If you don’t have access to healthcare and on top of it are “a stranger” (immigrant?) without “an inn” (“no room at the inn”) and in particular end up too sick to either find or maintain a job you may well do something illegal in order to eat. Perhaps even to get *inside* a jail or prison for “three hots and a cot”. You might do so in order to get at least something -close- to the drugs you cannot afford or obtain for medication of ailments.
This is the reality of the United States at present, and has been for many years.
An open heart is willing to help provide options and “safety nets”. The biblical term is “grace”- UN-EARNED favor. Mercy.
Fear, rage and “you’re on your own buddy” easily drops the line “There’s no room at the inn”. Cool if you own the place and hold the key. Then it’s all about merit, earning, or deciding “they” have no real worth or value…
Then again some folks don’t have a door to shut.
It was quite the history lesson today.
Things to consider as we make choices, vote and go our way. Or His.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn