When the Church Does Its Job.
May 3, 2010
Photo credit: Daylife.com
I’m coming off a pretty interesting weekend in the District, one that can be classified as a unique weekend in light of all others since arriving in Washington.
The homeless population is simply staggering here. From the moment one gets off the train at Union Station and walks outside, it’s inevitable to ignore. Homeless people line the long column passageway that professionals walk everyday. It almost as if the homeless factor hits you in the face every single day that one spends in Washington.
The same goes for when one walks through Chinatown late in the evening. They’re not hard to pick out with their dress, their portable cart full of belongings, and their card board sign that basically reads “Help me” in a variety of wordy expressions.
Being always on the go, it’s easy to become immune to the fact that this segment of the population exists.
On Saturday afternoon, I was shaken from my immune slumber. It was on that day that I was reminded of the proper role that the church plays in the secular society in which it resides.
Passing in front of the Newseum of all places, I happened to notice an old van parked next to the curb. It was a church van that had its side doors propped open. The peeling painted letters on its side revealed the name of the Christian church. Also noticeable is that the van had a pretty sizable container filled to the brim with sandwiches.
Sitting on the van’s stepping ledge was one transient eating a sack lunch.
On the actual side walk was a church worker packing a big bag of food for another homeless guy, presumably so that the homeless person can take some food for later in the day.
It was these clues that helped me to figure out that the church was ministering to homeless people by feeding them.
The interesting part of the whole situation is that the van was a church van and not some government agency van.
This particular Christian church feeding these homeless people wasn’t relying on federal dollars to carry out their mission. With the funds provided to them by their own congregation, they were able to love like no cold and impersonal government agency ever could.
Here was one church that took the initiative in loving one’s neighbor and in carrying out their faith in one of the most practical ways.
Many churches today are worried about building a new coffee bar, making people feel good about themselves, or upgrading their comfy five star building with big screens and surround sound systems.
This church was different, setting an example for other fellow Christian churches to follow.
The church parked on the side of the road here in DC demonstrated what true religion is within the faith known as Christianity. This was a refreshing event to witness in the power center of the nation.
Chris Guzman is a friend of mine who is currently living, working and writing in Washington D.C. He blogs regularly over at http://christopherguzman.wordpress.com/.