Homeless Sunday 17th October
This coming Sunday is Homeless Sunday. We often see reference to the homeless at Christmas, with organisations like Crisis at Christmas bringing good cheer to some homeless people. The Covid crisis brought a lot of homeless people into hotel and hostel accommodation for their own safety and I hope many have benefitted from this. We are aware that people become homeless for a variety of reasons, and we can unfortunately revert to the Victorian view of the deserving and undeserving poor. Perhaps it is through marriage or financial breakdown, mental health issues or a need to get out of complicated situations or issues. To live outside of all of the hassle may seem attractive but the harsh reality is something few of us would gladly undertake.
The YouTube of a minister dressed up as a homeless man and sitting on the steps of his church unnoticed and uncared for is striking.
Read Matthew 8:18-22.
For Jesus the role of a disciple was to be homeless. Whilst family life is not rejected outright, following Jesus was mean a whole new way of life. His little band is a new form of family, a kinship that lives out the values of God’s new kingdom. It seems that John Wesley spent little time at home, he would rather he out on horseback preaching, itself a hard and demanding lifestyle.
Ministers are conscious that the itinerant lifestyle can be disruptive to family, although not nearly as much now as years ago, the demand of stationing can mean uprooting and leaving, and arriving somewhere else when it would not be what they would have chosen. Of course we always get a house, but moving on can be hard. The life of the son of a friend in the armed forces is far more disrupted than ours as minister’s is.
So what does Jesus mean?
We do this because we love God, and God loves us. Some peoples work does involve difficult situations, for instance working every weekend does mean for ministers visits to family are difficult, and can cause tentions. Following Jesus does not mean rejecting family, quite the reverse, but carrying out our calling will need new ways of thinking and new ways of living, and this may be true for every career change or job transfer or indeed promotion, this is not about special pleading for ministers! It is about Christian living, and how it cannot be the same as before and also be effective.
To be truly effective it has to be about the whole of life, obeying the first two commandments is also about loving family and friends. So we offer our all to God, and seek how we can best serve him in our whole lives. Be it in the care of children or elderly relatives and church meetings, in Sunday worship and Saturday football, in the weekly family shop and the pastoral visit. That, it seems to me, is the best of all.
Kindred – by Kate McllHagga
My heart looked up and saw you.
My mind leapt forward to embrace.
My feet ran to meet you,
as your arms stretched out to me.
God who loves us all,
as partners and friends, grow through their love,
learn by their mistakes,
are united yet separate,
so may we be dependent on you,
be independent of you,
and interdependent with you,
that we may truly be
Mother, Brother, Sister of Christ,
one household of faith.
Let us cling to you.
Let us let go.
Let us make love our pattern and goal.
Christ our brother,
loose the bonds that bind us to the past,
the cords that strangle;
bring us to new relationship where duty is delight,
carers are cared for
and all may live freely in your Kingdom of peace.