Heeding the Tap, Tap
Back in my day the band Petra was blaring from most Christian teenagers’ headphones or boom boxes as they were called back then. Christian rock bands were controversial at the time so of course, I had every album and t-shirt Petra came out with. Yeah, did you catch that? I said album. There were so many great songs that Petra put out but one of their songs “Hollow Eyes” haunted me. It was like this little tap, tap on my shoulder. That tap, tap has never gone away.
Over the years when I heard a sermon on Matthew 25: 31-46 where Jesus refers to the “least of these” or on The Good Samaritan there it was again. Tap. Tap. At times I still feel that tap, tap when I walk through the streets of our city. Sometimes we have good intentions and want to help our neighbor, but we don’t know exactly how to go about doing it. Our church is giving us a great opportunity to participate in helping those in need in our community in very practical ways. Through the Safe Families for Children model, we can come along side another family and with the practical love of Jesus help them get back on their feet again and thrive. The SF model allows us to step out of our comfort zones and help with others from our church to work together and assist a family. You aren’t doing it alone. As a church body we can help bring about change in the life of a family and maybe even change the trajectory of that family or of individuals in the family. As an example, let me share part of my story.
My four siblings and I were in crisis as children when our parents were no longer around. My brother was 11 and I was the youngest at 8 months old. I got very sick. One of my grandmothers had come and tried to take care of all of us but it was a lot to handle. She was overwhelmed. I was getting sicker. It was at that time that a local church stepped in and through their compassionate love and generosity began to help our family thrive. That church stayed connected to my family and walked beside us until adulthood. Their commitment to us has been astounding. They have been the true example to me of what ministering to the “least of these “is all about. The bridge from the Petra songs goes like this:
The least of these is hungry
The least of these is sick
The least of these needs clothing
The least of these needs drink
The least of these knows sorrow
The least of these knows grief
The least of these has suffered pain
My siblings and I were all the above. It took individuals from that church who stepped up and out and demonstrated the radical love of Jesus to their neighbors to make a difference in all our lives. And I for one am glad they did because it changed the total trajectory of my life. Safe Families offers us that same opportunity to do for families here in Queens, in our very own back yard.
The “least of these” is at the heart of who Jesus is. We see him time and again in the New Testament leading with compassion and humility toward others. Today, Jesus has no body but your hands, your feet, your eyes, your voice. When do you feel that “tap, tap”? Do you heed the Holy Spirit’s prompts, or do you continue to walk on by?