The other night, while enjoying an otherwise perfect evening downtown, my sainted husband Ben pointed out an older woman walking in the mall, dragging her suitcase behind her. Come to think of it, he said, I’ve seen several people this year in different parts of the city, carrying their suitcases around. They don’t appear to be going to the airport.
Who are these people, living in this country, who have to drag their belongings around with them? I can’t imagine how cumbersome, how exhausting that must be. When I travel, I always check my suitcase. It’s too hard to drag it with me everywhere I go. How terrible to have to carry your belongings around with you every minute of your life.
I try to get through the day not noticing the suffering around me because it’s so upsetting, and I don’t know how to truly help. And yet I love to read about heroic Christians of the past who stood up to slave owners, or ran soup kitchens out of their homes during the Depression, or brought to light, at their own risk, the terrible injustices of their day.
Hopefully, future generations will say, “I can’t believe our grandparents tolerated so much misery in their midst. We wouldn’t let any of that happen today. Was that really the best they could do?”
We’re trying! I want to shout. We need guidance to know how to do better! Yet that guidance comes straight from the letter of James today: Faith without works is dead. So, I’m going to try to really see the suffering around me. That’s the faith that will make future generations proud to call themselves Christian.
Have you ever been hungry and had someone say, “Stay warm and well fed”?