In for the Long Haul

Sometimes out Samaritan-acts are one-offs, other times they can be acts which last for years. I’m thinking for the work my church do for the down and outs, the homeless and the sofa-serfers. What a said phrase, ‘down-and-outs’. People are ‘down’ and then they become ‘outs’, out of society and out of mind.

Every Monday evening our church provide a meal and medical services as required. The meal is cooked to a high standard by a rota of people plus occasionally other volunteer charities. Medical help is offered by our large group of medical professionals.

Our guests can sit and eat in a noisy room or in the quieter room. There is also a chance for take-away meals; Some people can’t cope with other people. During the week one of our men shares his allotment which gives emotional healing while working with the soil. Our visitors often have drug or alcohol dependency accompanied by mental conditions.

Our help is not once or occasionally but for the life for these poor unfortunate people. Because of their life of neglect their life-span is often cut short.

Your Brother

I love the way that some of the letters in the New Testament, concerning the early church contain such practical messages. They also show that mankind hasn’t changed since those days. Some of the problems that were faced in those days are still with us to this present time.

We read in Romans, ‘Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.’ Yes, that warning is applicable today for us today. I have noticed that on Songs of Praise, on some occasions, people of importance sit proudly in the front row, sporting large hats (the women that is, not the men of course!)

I’m sure I’m not innocent of pride. Do I stop to consider the homeless man begging in the street? When one talks to them, they say something like,’ I made one mistake, lost my job and my home, took drugs and ended up in prison. Now look where I am? We are possibly all one step away from making that one mistake. As Christians we must not be conceited, what have we got to be proud of; everything we have is by the grace of God. We need to be thoughtful of the lonely, kind to the homeless and giving to the hungry. The sad and suicidal need our compassion, the compassion that is only contained in Christ. Whoever is needy who crosses our path, needs our love. It is the love of Christ constrains us. .

More Homeless

As I spied another homeless man, I noticed that a woman passed him by and then said too me as she also passed me ‘He’s not genuine, you know.’ I was so shocked and saddened, I would rather give to a fraud than pass by on the other side and miss those who are genuine. Surely no-one would choose to sit on the cold pavement, wearing flimsy clothing and receiving so few coins that they couldn’t get a hostel for the night.

As I spoke to him, he looked lost and uncaring. ‘Where did you sleep last night?’ ‘On the streets.’ Have you approached the council for somewhere to live.’ Just a shrug. ‘There is a church down the road which gives free meals each evening.’ Another shrug.

This man had reached the stage of no hope. He’d given up trying. The coins I gave wouldn’t help him if he didn’t try to find shelter. I really feared he would just become another statistic.


As I walked through my city yesterday I was saddened to see four homeless men sitting hunched up on the pavements with little protection from the elements. This was two more than the last time I was there. One of them had shelter above him but he was in the windiest place there was on a day which was frighteningly windy. As I bent to speak to him I realized that I was towering over him, a position which would make him feel even more inferior. Something else to strip away his dignity.

When I handed him a drink and some food he muttered something which made me think he wasn’t English, but probably a refugee. I was able to point out a nearby church which handed out free evening meals, but I doubt that he could understand me. Refugees and the homeless are not part of God’s plan.


It has been hard in England not to be able to invite people into our houses. Thank goodness this rule has now been relaxed. It has been fun but now the novelty is wearing off to have people sitting in the garden under their umbrellas and having to cover the snacks so that they don’t get soggy. It didn’t always rain, but it seemed like it.

It made me think about the homeless people. I’m used to walking in my front door and shutting out the bad weather. They don’t have that luxury. Rain means soggy bedding, frost means intense cold and a wind means there is no comfort anywhere. Oh Lord, have mercy on them.