It's a thought that brings me up short. Jesus was homeless. God again choosing the absurd things of this world to shame all that would appear to make sense.
Yet there must be some lesson in this for us comfort-loving creations of His. Perhaps along the lines of what it means to really live by faith? Day in day out trusting Him for the daily bread He promises if we seek His kingdom first.
So far, my relationship with the homeless has been one of distance. I see them on a city street corner and I see evidence of their "shelters" in run down parts of the city. Never in suburbia, mind you, because when we have, we don't want the have-nots reminding us what we are all a few steps away from.
I pass them by at highway on-ramps and off-ramps conveniently designed to keep our interactions brief, impersonal, unless we step out of the car...
I'm tired of this distance, these walls that keep us from knowing poverty and homelessness personally. From knowing the faces and the stories and deep thirsts and hunger of the hurting among us.
So what I am to do?
I don't know exactly. At this point, the best ideas I've had so far are striking up a conversation with a beggar on a street corner, even if it means parking somewhere and getting out of my car. Or driving around the city on a Sunday morning with a huge pot of oatmeal in our car, looking for the hungry, sharing a meal before we head off to the place we called church. Somehow that feels right. Being the church, not just visiting it.
Any other wacky, Jesus-loving ideas out there for loving the homeless, Jesus-in-disguise? I'd love to hear what you've dared to do or want to dare to try.
If you're looking for additional reading material, here are two books I can recommend. The first I've read, the other is on my list (but I've heard from a friend it's really good):
Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski
How to Hug a Smelly Guy by Jeff Johnson