“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
I’m so grateful for my congregation as they provide for the pastor a discretionary fund for those who are in need. Yesterday was one of those days that I was so grateful that I was able to help those who reached out for help. I want the people in my congregation to know the good work they do so I thought that by blogging my experiences, they could all know the wonderful things that happen at St. Stephen’s day in and day out.
I once helped a woman who came in one day and desperately needed a new pair of shoes. She lifted up her foot to show me the shoes that she had and indeed, they were literally falling apart. She told me her story about how her husband did work, however, it was not enough to provide for them housing and so they lived in a tent and walked wherever they needed to go. She had found a pair of shoes that she liked at a consignment store down the street. They were used, of course and costs less than $10. I paid for the shoes so that she could go and pick them up at her convenience and she was tickled to death.
Yesterday, she comes to the church with her husband. They tell me how for three years they have owned a propane heater and that they were able to get propane, but when they tried to turn the heater on, it did not work. They asked if I could help with a new heater. I did purchase for them a new propane heater at Walmart. It was up to them to pick it up and get it back to their tent.
It is now a day later and I don’t believe they have been able to get the heater. Yesterday, I listened to their conversations as they talked about how they were going to try and manage the situation – how to get to Walmart – how then to get the heater to their tent. Were they going to be able to get it on the bus…Could maybe they get a ride from someone they knew…many discussions went on between the two of them. In the meantime, I witnessed their sore feet, his black and blue belly where he had to give himself injections for his disease, and the bags of food that we provided would go on their backs in backpacks as they left the church. While it was a relative warm that day, the forecast promised upcoming cold nights. I had made promises to my husband that I would not put people in my car and take them places. So, I stood there holding back tears as they left the church – not once complaining, but grateful for what they had…
I went to bed last night in my nice warm bed wondering if they made it their tent, their home where they could rest, and praying they were warm. And today…well, honestly, I feel ashamed. So much pettiness about so much about nothing goes on in this world. Jesus commands us to love God and to love one another. That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less. Jesus Christ died on the Cross so that there can be forgiveness and reconciliation, but yet so many people don’t want to accept the love that he provides so that peace can happen. Look around – It’s happening everywhere! People would rather be mean and hateful rather than apologize and reconcile their relationship with one another.
In the meantime, we have folks, even children, who are hungry, homeless, and uneducated. They would give anything to have what we have – a family that loves and supports one another, the ability and knowledge to provide for themselves, and the security of knowing where their next meal will come from. I often wonder what would it take to wake up people to the reality of the world? To bring people back into the church? To be grateful for what Jesus Christ has done for them?