One of the great things about spending a summer (or a week) with CSM is the awareness you gain from the experiences.
12Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
To be able to invite someone to a banquet you have to know where they are. You have to know their address to send them an invitation or their e-mail for the e-vite or where they hang out so you can tell them when to meet. An invitation requires interaction of some sort.
Today on our way home from church my friend Jenn and I stopped at Wal-Mart on the poorer side of town. I spotted a man walking along the street with a duffel that was dirty and packed full. We went inside and a dirty man with worn clothes and long hair was using change to buy a 24 pack. We went outside to see a guy packing his meager groceries in a worn, torn suitcase while he hunkered in the shade. We pulled out of the parking lot and watched a guy rummage through the garbage for cans (he had a whole wagon full).
These men may not have been homeless. There is not a tell tale sign to spotting the homeless population. But they visible had less than I did. They visible looked worn and tired. And I hate to admit it, but I’m not sure I would have noticed them all the way I did today this time last year.
I felt conflicted when I saw them. Partly because I should have noticed them last year. Partly because I wanted to talk to them. Partly because I didn’t want to talk to them with my church clothes on. Partly because there was no smooth way to approach any of them without it looking like I had pegged them for a homeless person.
This summer can’t just be this summer. It has to make me aware and active where I am now, and talking to these guys whether they are homeless or not is a big part of that. I came into the summer desiring to love a forgotten demographic and I need to go into this school year loving that demographic and inviting others to join me.
So I think Jenn and I are going to go hang out downtown some evening. Have some conversations, find a new Daniel, love the way Jesus would.
I want to invite them to a banquet….even if it’s just a banquet of pb&j.