Sobremesa xx.

Coldhearted and Christian are not compatible...

I’m writing this as I enjoy being out on our roofed deck. It’s my favorite spot to sit, think, write and sip hot coffee. It overlooks a green space replete with deciduous trees and creeping blackberry. It slopes steeply down to a creek which we should start hearing again soon.

Fall is here in all of it’s splendor and northwesty wetness. I love the gray, the steady rain, the damp cold, the falling leaves and the shorter days. The chattering birds sound like they enjoy it as much as I do. I’m looking forward to being out in it later for exercise.

The wind is gusting now. I might have to move inside to warm up, but I can afford the luxury of gutting it out a while longer. I’m sitting 8’ from warmth and dryness.

And that forces me to remember…

Carol and I live in a house we call our own… in a place now where we are free from the agonies of passports and visas. I’m no longer called an “extranjero”… no one points at Carol and says “gaijin.”

Lot’s of people only dream of a place to call home… a safe space protected from the elements. For some, a tarpaper shack with a dirt floor would be a relief. Uprooted… no place to be… little food or water…  no prospects… we count them by the millions now… it’s almost incomprehensible.

Add to their travail the reality of rejection. In country after country, nationalistic protectionism and economics take precedence over compassion. The assumption of an underlying respect for the dignity of fellow humans is just that… an ephemeral assumption… as distant from reality as a fairy tale.

My eyes burn and my heart bleeds from the recent memory of displaced people under a bridge… rooted out like an invasive species… treated like a subset… like something not quite as human as the rest of us. And this stuff happens in “God’s country” — as some have dared to label the USA.

The breadth and depth of injustice will always exceed our capacity for making things right. It will take the return of the King of Kings himself to make the crooked paths straight. What a wonderful day that will be…!

Meanwhile, coldhearted and Christian are never compatible attributes in us. A blind eye, a “God bless you” with a tinge of pity and a prayer is an inadequate response coming from a Jesus lover — say nothing of treating other humans the way our civil governments do.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (James 2:15-16, ESV)

The Bible talks about the fruit of God’s righteousness in those who belong to him. It transforms the way we interact with the disadvantaged and dispossessed.

He [the righteous man] has distributed freely; he has given to the poor. (Psalms 112:9, ESV)

She [the righteous woman] opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. (Proverbs 31:20, ESV)

Sobremesa (after-meal table-talk)

I have wondered if my Sobremesa thoughts seem too insular. It can’t always be about a meal or coffee with people we already know and have fun with.

Here’s a thought… how about inviting someone to eat who actually needs to eat? That would change the dynamic for many of us. The conversation would certainly go a different direction. We might learn new things about people… about ourselves, too. Who knows, maybe it would push us out of a waiting-for-a-door-to-open mode into a which-door-to-walk-through-first mode.

One person at a time… one meal at a time… one friend at a time… one disciple at a time. And the glory of it is… one true disciple turns into more than one…!