Last week was our annual ice day in San Antonio. We brave nothing near as tragic or ridiculous as what’s happening in Georgia right now, but our town is definitely not prepared to handle snow, or even ice. On the eve of the winter blast, I was taking my strep-throat infected, finally hungry, nine year old to grab his favorite food. We approached the light and he immediately started digging for change. Every corner is occupied by beggars, and ice days are no exception. Zac spoke a blessing as he handed the man the money. In return, the homeless man offered encouragement to Zac to stay in school so that he doesn’t have his fingers frozen off. As we pulled away, one thought came to my head…
Gloves became our mission that day. We quite literally ran inside of Wal-Mart to find the warmest gloves in the store. We purchased them, quite literally ran back to our car and made our trek to find this man who had frozen fingers. But he was gone. We circled and saw him huddled with friends under a distant bridge. After picking up my daughter from school, we made another round to see if he emerged but now he was forever gone. But on the way back around, we spied a woman, pulling her baggage (don’t we all?) with an over-sized coat pulled over her hands. We pulled into the parking lot, rolled the window down and blessed her.
Ahhh her face. Her angelic, worry filled face was glowing with gratefulness.
As the winds blew stronger and the temperature dropped that night, I lay in bed heartbroken for those sleeping in the woods and under bridges. I wondered…
Why doesn’t the city step up and plan better?
Why aren’t we using our paid-for-by-taxes school gyms to offer a temporary sleeping place for the homeless?
Visions of local churches, large local churches, filled my head… Then a picture of a grieving God looking down from heaven whispering, “They just don’t get it.”
My wondering wandered…
Why aren’t churches being the hands and feet?
Why are closed-on-Thursday-waiting-waiting-for-Sunday buildings empty?
Why is God’s sanctuary locked up tight?
Whatever the reason, I’m almost certain they are all rooted in the need to not be inconvenienced. It’s not our mission, it’s not in our budget, it’s too close to the weekend.
Yesterday I read about Chik-Fil-A in Georgia who closed their profitable business and went out into the ice stricken streets and fed the abandoned. Then the doors swung open as they offered respite and warmth for wayward travelers. Again I ask…
Why does Chik-Fil-A ‘get it’ but the church doesn’t? I continue to wonder if the church is wrongly, and sinfully, building it’s self on the ideology of the American Kingdom and missing the opportunities to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven.
What do you think? Pastors, churches, what is your excuse?