July 24, 2008

No where else to go...

Sorry it has been so long since the last time that you heard from us. Things have been very busy around the Friendship House. Last week we had our friends Get Real (a mission organization from back home in Georgia) come down for a visit. We were able to meet some of their friends from previous visits to the city, who have trusted in God's promises and plans and have made their way from the streets into a nice home. It was truly a beautiful moment to sit with them in their living room (packed full with twenty five people) and here them praise the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness. It was strange to think of them once sleeping under a bridge on the cement to inviting us into their home and offering us coffee. They once had no hope and they had no where else to go so they turned to God and believed Him to be exactly who He said He was. On Saturday we were also able to do some neighborhood clean-up projects with the group followed by an amazing night of building relationships with the homeless down at The Wall. The Wall is the place where Get Real and the Friendship House used to go frequently to give out food and simply befriend the poor of the city. Post-Katrina there was no one there to talk to or share a meal with so they began going down under the bridge (where we have also been going weekly since we arrived). However last week the city "cleaned out" from under the bridge. All our friends from under the bridge were either picked up and taken to a hotel or to a shelter in order to improve the appearance of the city for important events and visitors that will be coming soon. I do not claim to know the motives behind this action but I am fully convinced that this temporary fix will have no permanent effects. Once the money is gone all those people will be right back where they were before...on the street with no where else to go. I do not claim to understand what it would be like to be a part of the government or to be in charge of creating laws for an entire city or nation all I know is that injustice abounds. Often the poorest of the poor are treated as though they are not human at all. Sometimes I think actions such as these are taken to protect ourselves from the discomfort and guilt that the faces of the poor may cause us. We think it's easier to oppress and ignore than to carry the burden of their pain and need. I myself find my first response is to look away and go on about my own business and yet we are called to a different response, we are called to a more compassionate way... Psalm 140:12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Psalm 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses. Proverbs 29:7 The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? We are called to be people who care for the poor. I do not know what this looks like for everyone nor do I think it will look the same in all of our lives but I know that without it we will be missing out on depth of life. Sure we may be alive, we may even have eternal life to come, but we will miss out on something mysterious and beautiful if we do not share our lives with the needy here and now. We will miss out on the chance to love and serve Jesus himself (Matthew 25). The Kingdom belongs to the least. It belongs to the most undeserving of us all because it comes through grace alone. It may seem that our friends on the street have nowhere and no one to turn to but God is calling them to Himself, He is calling them into His family. He has given us the responsibility of inviting them in to our homes and welcoming them to belong. We all need a place to call home. Peace. Sarah


Joel Spencer said...

Great stuff Sarah! That would be incredible to actually see and experience the journey of the family once homeless and now in their own home with you as their guests.

Although my experiences with homeless are just about too few to even take part in this conversation, I agree that they seem to be simply looked at as an "eyesore" of the city in which they live. Perhaps because it does correctly show, in many cases, our insufficiency to care for those around us. Nobody likes being confronted with personal failure, especially when it comes to our homeless "neighbors".

Thanks for putting those Scriptures together too - they say it all.

Glad to "hear" an update! Love you guys.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, my dear sweet Sarah. It really is hard to come face to face with the poor, I do hope for God to be able to make a difference in the lives of so many. He says, the poor will always be among us, it is our love and service that is needed to show Christ to so many who need to feel see HOPE in the flesh. I love reading your scriptures and I love you!!!

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed being there last week and seeing you two. New Orleans means a lot to me for many many reasons. And seeing John and Jared in their own home---WOW---harvest!! I truly understand the "building of relationships" more than ever now. I love what God can do when we are obedient to Him in all ways. I love you guys and pray for you every day. Enjoy the rest of your time there!
Michelle Angel