Waking in the middle of the night at about 3am, in the middle of what sounded akin to a hurricane outside, was not pleasant. Even worse, however, was the struggle to get back to sleep as my mind turned to and remembered the events of the evening before. Christmas shopping in town, I’d passed by a homeless man bedded down for the night in a window crevice behind Tesco Metro. I’d then walked quickly on, putting the event to the back of my mind; ignorance always is bliss, they say, and spares a guilty conscience. After a coffee up the street I’d totally forgotten about the rough sleeper.
Now, waking at 3am, all I could think about was him. Him, sleeping out in the blowing wind, the biting cold, the driving rain. How can he be living in this, while I tuck in bed? Or rather, should I ask, why do I allow this to happen? Have I lived in that ignorance too long? It is always easier to ignore justice, move on and get the next coffee.
Maybe it’s time we said, “Not on my watch will this happen.” It’s time to reject apathy and take up arms against day by day injustices. ‘True religion’ this Christmas, is not a few carol services. No; true religion is lived out radically in a broken, painful world. True religion steps out and houses the homeless, cares for the orphan and widow, feeds the hungry.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’