With a snowstorm last Saturday and another one on Wednesday, the church has not received any mail from the U.S. Postal Service this week. No catalogues or bills or offering checks have arrived. Only one piece of mail has come. It was not stamped or carried by a postal service employee. Rather, it was hand delivered. And, my colleague, Chris, brought it to me yesterday.
The outside of the envelope reads, "To: The Owner of the Church, Mt. Vernon Square."
Inside the envelope, written on a small piece of paper, were these words,
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Is is O.K. if I sleep on your porch at night?
I have nowhere to sleep. I am homeless.
P.S. The reason I came to sleep was, I saw some fellows sleeping on the porch and I thought no one cared. Mr. Brown
It's quite a letter, isn't it?
I have never met Mr. Brown. I am not sure who he is, but I hope to meet him sometime soon. I'd welcome a conversation or a cup of coffee with him.
The envelope is addressed to the owner of the church. While we might think we own the church, no one here owns this church. It is God's church - God's building and God's resources. We are merely stewards of what God has given to us. We know how God feels about the poor. If you have read the gospels, then you know that Jesus has more concern for the poor than anyone else. Time and again, Jesus has a word to say about the poor being blessed and how those who are rich are to share with the poor. We know how the owner of the church feels.
But what about we who are stewards of the church building and its resources? Is it okay for anyone to be sleeping on the porch of the church at night? Does no one care?
What are we doing to make sure that no one is sleeping on the porch at night because everyone has a place to call home? What is your church doing to end homelessness? What is the body of Christ doing to make sure that people Mr. Brown know we care?
How would you respond to his letter?
Mount Vernon Place, what will our response be?