Actions of Love

There is a Black man whom I pass almost everyday. He has a long black beard and nappy, un-combed hair. He has been wearing the same clothes for the past 6 weeks. He never really begs, but it is obvious that he needs. Every time I pass him I ask, “Do I really love my neighbor?�?There is an Asian man who sleeps out in front of the Episcopal/Anglican church. Though he is far from royalty, he has lengthy opaque hair that is put back in a ponytail, much like an Elizabethan prince. He is always wearing several layers of clothes as if it were going to snow, but he never has adequate shoes. He needs a shower and a bed, but will probably never get one because the shelters are always full and there aren’t any in the area, plus no one is willing to part with pocket change to fund this man’s trip. I can’t help but ask “How much do I love myself and my money?”There is a non-English speaking immigrant that lives on the train. By lives– I mean that he can’t find a job anywhere and he must panhandle all day. Before I think too hard about why he can’t speak English I realize that he has had to work all of his life so that his family could eat. When was he supposed to learn? Who was there to teach him?The issue of poverty becomes real when you live in it. Poverty is illuminated when there is no bypass that takes you around the downtown and “bad�? areas of a city, no car that takes you only to the places you want to go, and no mode of escaping the pain of another. I cannot help but think of Matthew 25:31-46 and as I ask, “What will God say to us when we enter eternity? What will he say about our compassion? Have we allowed the systematics of Christianity to deter us from what it means to be a Christian?We mustn’t ignore the systematic factors that attribute to man’s poverty. The system by which we live by and benefit from others may die from. But nor must we ignore the personal actions that influence poverty. Not the actions of the poor – but our own. Our materialism, our expensive homes, cars, clothing–the luxuries we choose to own. What if we chose to live in moderation instead of in excess? What if we choose to love with our hands as well as with our hearts?

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