Wednesday Word: Haunting Scripture

Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” – Matt. 25:44

What piece of scripture haunts you? What piece of scripture makes you sit up, take notice, and realize you just might be doing it wrong? What piece of scripture causes you to lose sleep.

For me, it's this one. Verse 45 continues, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

On Monday I made the decision to evict a gentleman who had been sleeping on the office porch since last week. Yesterday morning Dcn. Sue and I woke him up, explained why he wasn't allowed to camp out on our porch, offered him resource options, and ensured that he packed up his belongings and vacated the premises.

The two of us then packed up a few bags of garbage which Dcn. Sue took down to the dumpster. Heidi showed up for work and the two of us finished cleaning up the porch, washing off the outside of Gatorade bottles, and picking up various other pieces of trash (ie, other duties as assigned).

Can's, cant's, and wont's. I learned about that breakdown from a public health nurse in my previous parish. Can's are those people who, due to circumstances, find themselves in dire straits but who also, with a little help, are able to get back on their feet. Cant's are those people who, due to physical or mental conditions, are literally unable to help themselves and probably need a lifetime of assistance. Wont's are those people who, no matter how hard you try to help, simply will not improve or change.

I'm not sure which category our recent guest fell into – you might be able to make an argument for any of the three. But nevertheless, it was time for him to not be on our porch, so I evicted him.

Memories of Mona, Jimmy, and Tyree came back. People I, or the church, have tried to help in one form or another, but who ended up being eventually evicted. I can now add Rick to that litany of evictions.

Oh, I know the drill – You can't help everybody; You can't solve everyone's problems; You did your best; etc. etc. etc. But the reality is that I evicted a homeless man from the shelter and relative safety of our porch.

What piece of scripture haunts you? For me, it will always be the end of Matthew 25.


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