Saturday, August 3, 2013

Continuing Jesus' Ministry? Or Not?

Greetings all,
No I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but you wouldn't know it by my writing.  Things come to mind that I want to share, but when I get a chance, my brain is mush.  But this morning, I read something that really motivated me to write.

The Situation
I have a friend, a 30ish year old single mother of three children.  The oldest child just turned 5, or will soon.  Being single is something  new to her. Being blind is not. Yes, she's a blind woman trying to deal with 3 kids, ages 1-5. No car. No family members near by.

In order to do laundry, she lugs it down several flights of steps of her apartment, kids in tow, only to discover that someone else has the washers and dryers full of clothes. Life can be overwhelming... but she doesn't give up. She keeps her faith and goes on for her children's sake. What choice does she have?

Many of us would understand not wanting to bother to go to the grocery. After all, it's tiring and a lot of trouble. But for me, and for the majority of my readers, it's a matter of getting in the car, going to the grocery without children, picking out what we want, then leaving.  We complain about the hassle.

But consider this: What if you have to catch a bus, with 3 children - more than one in each hand, using a cane to guide you, and lug home your purchase? Would you buy more than a loaf of bread? If there is a cab available, it'd be expensive and the meter would run the entire time she shopped. Or how about getting a ride? Simple? No... there is no one willing to take time our of their lives to take her. It could be a matter of lacking car seats. Ideally, two people would volunteer - one to watch the kids at home, and another to take her to the grocery, even helping her shop.  But that help isn't coming.

The Message
On facebook this morning she wrote: " Seriously, I have to go to the grocery today because there is nothing for my kids to eat for breakfast or lunch, but just the thought is overwhelming. I really should have done it yesterday, but I just couldn't. I don't feel like I can today either, but I have to."  

My heart went out to her. But when I read a comment from a friend, I gasped out loud! "I'd help but I'm off to the temple this morning. Pick you all up tomorrow for church? Take care."

Oh my.  This hit me on so many levels... thoughts of being too busy at church to notice and take care of people? Seriously????  Images of Jesus teaching that whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me filled my head to bursting. "Feed my sheep," He said.

I'm trying to be fair. I know that this fine Mormon woman is probably quite sincere in her beliefs. I know that going to temple  is very important. I believe it when Mormons say that they are Christians.... so not holding any of that against her.  It's just the "ignoring a real human need in order to go pray for guidance" part that is getting me. Am I guilty of this at times? Guidance? How about "feeding His sheep?"

At least, she responded. She may have some duty at Temple that she can't get out of. She is at least helping provide a ride tomorrow for them to get to church, and for that, I'm grateful.  

But I'm not really writing about that unknown woman. I'm writing about US. You and me.  What are we doing on a daily basis? Is it enough? Is it what we're told to do? Or do we get so hung up in our own daily stresses that we not only forget to be grateful for what we have, but neglect to help those that need it?

THAT is my challenge today, to you and, especially, to myself.  It is this mind-blowing, filled to the brim thought of someone struggling while others pass her by without a thought. It is the very essence of living what we believe. Do we? She needs food for her young children. She needs the support of humanity.  She is one of many people that struggle ... is there someone near you that needs something? Is God waiting for your part to be someone's solution?

I've been very worried about her... and she's been in my prayers for weeks. But what good are prayers if what she needs is physical help? I live several hours away, am sick, and have a car that's not sure it wants to leave town.  But I'm headed up to Ft. Thomas, in northern KY, if no one comes forward.