I walked down to Dillon’s the other day to get a salad to bring back to the office for lunch. At the corner of the parking lot behind the wooden fence at the corner of the parking lot was a man evidently sleeping off the night before in a bed of fallen leaves and dirt. As I crossed the parking lot and into the store I wondered about him, how he ended up in that particular place, if he had a home and if so how far was he away, when was the last time he had had something to eat.
I stepped to the salad bar and filled my container as my mind continued to wonder about one asleep, cold, and alone on the ground. I really ought to do something. But, what if he is violent? What if he doesn’t want any help? What if he isn’t asleep at all but worse? My mind considered all kinds of possibilities and reasons not to do something. I snapped the lid shut on my salad and turned to go to the checkout line.
I stopped, turned back around and went to the deli. I picked out a prepared sub sandwich, a bag of chips, a candy bar, a bag of almonds, and a bottle of water. I checked out and started back through the parking lot wondering if he would still be there curled up in the corner. Stepping down off the retaining wall and around the corner there he was unchanged from moments ago. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill, all the cash I had on me, and put it in the grocery sack. I stepped a bit anxiously onto the leaves next to him and said, “Excuse me.” He didn’t move at first, then slowly opened his eyes squinting at me in the bright noonday sun. “Here is some lunch for you,” I said as I sat the sack down close to him. He didn’t say anything, just closed his eyes again. I stepped away and continued on my way back to the church.
I wondered if he would remember I was there or if he would wake up and wonder where the heck this sack with sandwich and water came from. I pondered my own reaction and response as I considered what if anything to do. I considered why my mind had thought of so many reasons not to do anything. I suppose there is always a place for a little healthy caution and wariness and at the same time I really had no reason to think he would do anything but accept the offer.
I do that a lot I think, I suppose we all do now and then when confronted with those situations out of our comfort zone. We err on the side of caution when perhaps the better choice is service and compassion. It is not always an easy choice or decision to make and one needs to be safe. And yet sometimes that becomes rationalization for our own fear, our own bias, our own prejudice, and keeps us from a posture and attitude of acceptance and grace.
For our second Sunday of Lent in the Sermon Series “Breaking Free; The Kindom Experiment” we will be considering those things that incarcerate us in prejudice and bias and look for ways to break free to acceptance and understanding as we reflect and practice moving from “Prejudice to Acceptance.” Join us this Sunday and we continue to journey of the Way.
It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table.
Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.