Friday, I joined in with the Congregations for the Homeless to honor the homeless count in King County. You see, Thursday evening was the night that volunteers go out around the country and count the homeless people. They found 3,117 people in King County. But here is what you need to know ... the volunteers are only allowed to go into circumscribed areas. Homeless people know what those areas are. At least half leave the proscribed areas. So the true count of people on the streets is at least double. And it is a 14% increase over last year. And it doesn't count people in temporary shelters, transitional shelters, or "couch surfing." What do you think the true count of homeless would be? Triple? Quadruple?
This is one urban county in one state in one nation in one part of the world. The reality is that homelessness is a worldwide issue that needs all of our creativity to approach. Where are you in this story of poverty? What are you called to do? Is there one thing that you can change that can affect cycles of poverty? Or that can affect one hungry person? What is the invitation you are hearing?
Thus says the Lord, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Qur’an Surat al-Ma'un: 1-7
Have you seen him who denies the religion? He is the one who harshly rebuffs the orphan and does not urge the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who do prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer, those who show off and deny help to others.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Baha’u'llah, The Hidden Words
O ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.
Mahabharata XIII 7.7
He who feeds a stranger and a tired traveler with joy attains infinite religious merit.
(c) 2014, post, Terri Stewart