The cold rain streams down my window as I sit in my warm and dry home, yet hot, wet tears stream down my cheeks as I watch the rain.
I love the rain, especially since we need it so much in Southern California. But I am not crying for the rain.
I am crying for the people I love who must sit in the rain, soaking wet, with nowhere to go and nothing to cover themselves.
Recently my wife and I distributed a car trunk full of tarps, sweatshirts, sweaters, pants, blankets, food and other supplies to the homeless living in San Diego. But our meager supplies fell far short of meeting what they need.
This morning the temperature is fifty degrees. Fifty isn’t all that cold unless you’re soaked to the skin sitting on a wet sidewalk in the rain. Sitting under a tarp helps, but not everyone has a tarp. Some are sitting in the rain, shivering.
Blood on the Sidewalk
Many of our Christian friends are afraid to go with us to buy and distribute clothes, food, and tarps to the homeless. They’re afraid to go to the inner city and mingle with the poor, the bikers, the gangs. They blanch when we tell them of the times we have stood on still-wet blood stains on the sidewalk where someone was murdered during the previous night. (I think this has happened five or six times.)
Sometimes we’re afraid before we go. For some reason we’re never afraid when we’re there. We see beautiful people, who are in the middle of life’s messes.
To Show The Love of Jesus
My friend who does not follow Jesus, who loves the homeless, the poor, and our gay friends wants to go with me today. She is trying to take off work for a couple of hours to join me. We’ll buy tarps and then hand them out.
When the homeless ask who we are and why we’re doing it I’ll say “I follow Jesus and we’re here to show the love of Jesus.” Then I’ll ask their name, and ask what they need. My friend will write it down in my little notebook.
Sometimes I pray with them there on the sidewalk, in the rain. Sometimes they ask about Jesus. Sometimes they bless me, at God’s bidding. I bless them in return.
We’re safe, warm, and dry. But are they?