Sometimes what we need most is not easy answers, but deeper questions.
The other day, I watched homeless people being served by Christians.
From my perch high atop a parking garage in Fort Lauderdale, FL, I could see the crowd gather, hear the coordinator pray as she started the feeding time and watch as all of these people —with all of their various stories and backgrounds— came together for a moment, then went their separate ways, scattered around the park.
It was both moving and troubling to me.
Moving, because of the way I saw the Christians sincerely trying to help and show love in Jesus’ name. Troubling because I couldn’t help but wonder how much real help was being provided.
How will this event help the homeless people for the long-term, and how will it make an impact in the lives of the Christians for more than a weekend? Is this a one-shot deal or part of a bigger plan? Is it sustainable?
Then I went to Starbucks and saw a similar pageant unfold, just with different actors and costumes and sets.
The people all gather, get what they need, then scatter to their own isolated corners. Money is exchanged, of course, but there is still no lasting connection except the forming of a habit of consumption.
This is what people do. We build our routines to feed our needs and stick with whatever works.
Here is what I found myself asking in both scenarios. How does Jesus transcend this, the human condition, to bring something greater than our needful routines? How does the Church provide a conduit for greater things, and how can we be a catalyst for change?