Talk Is Cheap!

“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: 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/172865209X/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_.iX9BbZXM6842?fbclid=IwAR14Y8jAxc462oqzltCCdZGq4BCLQg-HW8VEoAdpkGjog9Q78PqGh6zTTIA 

Thy Will Be Done

Camping at Sandi’s bedside at the nursing home, watching her helplessly lie in bed, sleeping much of the time, struggling to give her drink with a straw and solid food with a spoon, is causing me to reflect more on life. I’m coming to grips accepting the fact that she’s dying.  There are few precious moments when she smiles, converses, and sometimes even jokes, with her own brand of humor. 

Although I’ve been helping Sandi, she’s given me much. She’s admonished me when I’ve expressed sinful anger at people who wronged me. When I started gloating over someone who hurt me having a difficult time, she reminded me “they are people.”   

Inside I’ve been screaming. Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream doesn’t seem to express my angst about what’s happening.     Man at bridge holding head with hands and screaming

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream 

The Serenity Prayer helps comfort me: 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.” 

My problem, my dilemma, is that I want the world as I would have it. In the 2 ½ years I’ve known Sandi, I’ve become very attached to her. Seeing her lying here, now sleeping, I’ve forgotten what a pain she can be sometimes, and how I wanted to get rid of her and how I took her for granite. This is a game changer! 

I ask “why”! I then realize that we will not always know why, but in faith remember that God works all things together for good for those who love the Lord. I have, however, realized some good in this situation.  People at the nursing home are amazed, touched that someone would stand by a loved one this much in this situation.  Jesus is reflected. God continues to teach me compassion for others, to put myself in their shoes. 

What I can change, is Sandi’s attitude. As our pastor told me, it’s good that she knows she’s loved. During this last health episode, when I asked her, Sandi said “Jesus is in my heart.”

Sandi was part of a population that is forgotten by society, especially in Bucks County, PA – the homeless. They do not contribute to the surface glitter of those hung up in personal peace and prosperity. As Detective Frank Thorn shouts as he’s taken away in the sci-fi movie Soylent Green, “Soylent Green is people!”, the homeless are people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green 

http://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi2020082969 

People have intrinsic value; we are made in the image of God, who breathed life into us. 

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.… -Genesis 1: 26-28