Not In My Back Yard…..

‘And, Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.  David, therefore himself calleth him Lord, and whence is he than his son?  And the common people heard him gladly.  And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, for a presence make long prayers: these shall receive the greater damnation.  And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and behold how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast much.  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even her living.’    Mark 12: 35 – 44  KJV

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Could it be that we all want to hear about the homeless being helped and fed and clothed and receiving shelter…but not in our neighborhood?

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Elder, Jane Swanson, delivered a compelling sermon this morning at our church.

Among the points of her message was the self satisfied belief that we are among the blessed…while the less fortunate are not.

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She discussed the tension that surrounds reaching out to the poor and homeless and hungry…that was demonstrated in both the creation of a warming center in Carbondale and a breakfast program that our church is engaged in on Wednesday mornings.

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It seems that everyone wants to hear that the poor are being helped…as long as it is not in their line of site?

A homeless woman, who has often attend our church, and who I have spoken to on more than one occasion, and who asked me if I was a rabbi…was standing in front of Schnucks Supermarket.  She was looking away from me…so I waited to say hello to her, once, she had turned my way.  When we made eye contact I said hi…to which she responded for me, ‘to f— myself!’

I was startled..but I was not offended, as I realized that she probably did not recognize me…or felt threatened.

Talking about helping the homeless and helping the homeless…is two different things.  It is not for the faint of heart or thin skinned!

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We are comfortable sitting in our church pews among our friends and fellow congregants, of many years, there is no challenge to attending Sunday morning service…and we are not looking for any!

We seek those of our economic strata and similar belief systems…

We proclaim God’s blessings on our lives…as if we have done some good work or deed to have earned our comfortable existence…a point system?

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In reality we are the recipients of God’s extreme grace and mercy…and have earned nothing…and could slide into poverty and degradation with, one, or more life reversals!

Do we pray…lengthy prayers to be heard and applauded by men…while our homeless brothers and sisters proclaim…God save me…a sinner!

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