Nobodies Are My Sisters and Brothers

Advent Week 3 Dec 18 2013
Read Matthew 25:40-45

How I want to avoid the nobodies I see!  I feel very much like Scrooge when I pass the unkempt beggars on my way to and from work in Boston:  “Are there no shelters? No mental hospitals? No work programs?”  my Scrooge-like mind wonders.  There are not as many programs as there used to be — but I know that back of my thought is not only pity or compassion but also — and perhaps mainly — a desire not to see these nobodies, a desire not to really know about them:

  • There is the man who looks big and strong and able-bodied who used to call out, in his booming Boston-accent, “Spare change for an unemployed cahpentah?” He was not around for several months.  Was he working? In detox? On a binge? Why is he down and out?  More importantly, why does that matter to me? Now he is back and his cry is “Spare change for the homeless?”
  • There is the young woman with the small, worn duffel bag, who stands in the subway with her head bent at a 90-degree angle, looking only at the floor, and holding a sign, “Homeless — please help.”  She, too, is back after several months.  Was she living under a bridge somewhere?  What was she doing?  Why won’t she look at anyone?  She reminds me of the stereotype of a child caught in wrong-doing whose parent or teacher towers over him and yells, “LOOK at me when I’m talking to you!”  What is the source of her shame?  Would I meet her eyes and see her pain if she did dare to look up?

Meditation: I don’t know how to help them!  But Matthew 25 clearly shows that God’s judgment is based on whether or not I give, and serve, and work for justice — not out of guilt, but out of love for other nobodies who are so much like   me — other nobodies whom God refers to as “members of my family.”

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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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One Response to Nobodies Are My Sisters and Brothers

  1. Frank Ober says:

    Nancy: You have captured the feelings of most of the world as they deal with the “others” (Nobodies). I encounter the same expressed feelings when I talk with people about visiting with the inmates at the jail or prison. It is clear that while these are good people and certainly do interact with the world in a positive way,if not a chartable way, but being in contact with those who are locked up makes them uncomfortable. What they forget is before these people were locked up, they were out in the world with the rest of us, shopping for groceries at Hannaford or Shaws, buying movies at Walmart or Kmart and buying gas at the local filling station. The only difference is that when they are not locked up, it might be difficult to pick them out of the people around us. Peace, Frank

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