“Loving Jesus and Serving The World”, reads a logo on The Levittown Church Of God van. Although we who come to the free shared homeless and needy meals appreciate being fed, some of us expressed outrage with the attitude of the host, namely the pastor, at the meal last night.
We he opened, he bragged that the church itself provided the meal. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:2.
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2
The host started taking up table cloths, chairs, and even tables not much past 6:30 p.m., as people were still eating. The meal is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. Guests were not let in until 6:05. One of the guests asked if the meal was supposed to end at 6:30 p.m. “Don’t you see, everyone is leaving”, the pastor snapped. Shortly thereafter, as I sat, wiping my mouth with a napkin, the pastor, standing opposite me said something like “hope you had a good meal; we’re breaking it down…”. As I finished wiping my mouth, he flipped the table, abruptly folding it up, almost dropping it on my lap!
As we moseyed towards the door, some of the hosts subtly pushed us out, as if we were cattle! Movin’ movin’ movin’. Keep them doggies movin’. Keep them doggies movin’, rawhide… Move ‘em out!
Except for graciously and generously offering the guests food, the hosts did not interact with their guests as they have in the past. In the past, the pastor and other hosts have reached out to others. On one occasion long ago I talked with the pastor about a problem, which was later resolved.
Christians should reflect Jesus. People are attracted to God through the way they treat others, by their love. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
There always has and always will be those who, in the name of Christ, do not rightly reflect Him.
Some of the churches that host the meals reach out to their guests to develop relationships and minister to them. Many of the hosts and their guests know one another on a first name basis. These churches practice the philosophy that man does not live by bread alone, and offer guests spiritual as well as physical food. They are there for their friends who visit the meals, as are the guests who help each other.
In “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless”, I elaborate on the value of the shared meals as well as other aspects of homelessness in Bucks County, based on personal experience with the homeless here: