“What does love look like? It has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
Augustine of Hippo (354–430)
Jesus came to bring “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). In so many places the Bible shows us that the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, the weak and powerless have a special place in God’s heart. From the Early Church’s daily distribution of food to the widows (see Acts chapter 6) to Francis of Assisi, from Good King Wenceslas to Mother Teresa the church has had a strong tradition of helping the poor and needy in generous practical ways.
There are poor and needy in North Springfield. There are some families who do not have enough to eat, or are so deeply in debt that the bailiffs have taken the furniture away. There are others whose needs may not be financial, but are equally pressing: families struggling with problems due to alcohol or drug abuse, or psychiatric illness or various kinds of disability. So many youngsters in our neighbourhood have nowhere to go and no useful activities to occupy them for so much of their time.
So what are WE doing for the poor and needy of our town? Certainly our young people’s club Impact, our Mums and Toddlers Group and Havengore Pre-School are doing great work among many families. Drop In on Friday afternoons is helpful to a number of folk. Various individuals receive support through counselling, and our Communion Fund exists to help members of church and congregation in financial need. And as Christians each one of us will have many opportunities to “love our neighbours”’ and help meet their needs.
Over the next few months we pray that God will show us very clearly what more we could and should be doing, possibly in co-operation with other churches, to share not only the gospel but also the love of Jesus Christ with the poor and needy in very practical ways.