Stretch your imagination with me. Let us say you have come home from a long day of work. Your feet are swollen, your eyes are heavy, you hear the pillow calling your name, and you know it is time to rest. Your child greets you when you arrive to your home. You share thoughts of the day with each other but you both are ready to repose. As you lay your head down, you reflect on the day and all that has come to pass. As your child sits near playing a game, you give them one last glance before your eyes start to shut. You then pray, give thanks for the day, and dose off. Just moments before you enter a deep slumber, there are noises and yells. You haven’t opened your eyes yet because it’s probably a dream, but you feel lights flashing. As everything comes into focus and the muffled noises become clearer you notice a person standing over you, armed with several weapons saying, “You can’t be here! Get up, get your things together, and leave!” You first grab your child’s hand to make sure of their safety then you quickly sit up. You want to disagree with the individual because you have laid your head to sleep in the same place for so long. But, he is holding a weapon and he looks very anxious to use it. You keep your child close because their safety is priority. You pack your things, making sure not to leave anything. The armed individual continues to yell at you to hurry. You feel humiliated in front of your child, you feel like a failure. As the two of you walk down the street, exhausted, you hope to find another place. You look for a place that is warm, dry, and lacking danger. The mission would be nice but it is full. So, you carry on, with your child as close as possible, holding tight to every prayer you have.
This happened last night. As we looked for people on the streets to give supplies to, the Memphis Police Department was looking as well. They were not giving out supplies they were taking them. There are some places are brothers and sister who are affected with homelessness can go to rest. There is, of course, the Mission. Though, it charges seven dollars per person and it fills up fast. Some churches have been gracious enough to join Room in the Inn by housing and providing food to people once a week but there are very few. Many churches don’t like to host “those people”; they don’t want to get their hands dirty.
When studying the bible, I like to give myself a contextual interpretation. I believe exegetical work is insufficient unless you supply a historical analysis of the context. Usually, after digging around, I find realization that many biblical principals are difficult to apply to my own context. However, one does apply. A principal that you find resting on the foundations of the synoptic gospels is Jesus’ love and compassion for the poor. This context has changed very little.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”