[ “SHARE” Jul-Aug 2012 – What Has Poverty to Do with Me? ] TAKING ACTION
Each visit would make me feel confused and embarrassed about my identity as a Christian.
Every time we meet, Old Man A would ignore all my questions and repeat his same old story; Old Man B is a man of few words and we try constantly to start a new topic of conversation; Old Man C keeps on asking about “Scheme $6000”.
Nothing new ever comes out of the visits and our presence seem to cause annoyance. But when we say goodbye, their response is always, ‘Thank you for visiting today.’
These aged ex street-sleepers may have a past that is too painful to recall, or they may have become awkward with conversations because they rarely talk to strangers, yet deep down they yearn for some attention – they cherish even the most trivial chats for they feel loving care from others.
For me, used to living an ever-changing material life, it has not been easy to adjust quickly to or speak kindly to elderly people living in hardship. I may express willingness with my mouth but feel challenged in my heart. Time passes and the once-poor generation of believers has now become more prosperous and the church is becoming middle-class. Thus when a group of well-off Christians like us get together, invisible walls come up which separate us from the world beyond. When the church is happy to stay within the walls, who will look after the lonely and the helpless in the society?
In contrast, Jesus walked with the marginalised and lived among them. Thus the Word became flesh and lived among us. Yet, when we worship and sing ‘Holy! Holy!’ do we understand why Jesus was born, or know what He did while He was in the world?
I fervently hope one day when a street-sleeper comes into our gathering, we will not be offended by him and reject him for what he wears or how he behaves, because whatever we do for one of the least of these brothers, we do for the Lord.
Since mid-2010, CEDAR joined the Salvation Army in a “street-sleepers visit project”, taking note of the street-sleepers’ needs through regular visits. 28 participants are divided into small groups and regularly visit 15 street-sleepers or former street-sleepers. Willis is one of the participants.
TAKING ACTION introduces CEDAR’s education and advocacy activities in Hong Kong; through participants’ sharing encourages believers to take action and practise their faith.