About a month ago, the Sunday Hutchinson News front page headline (June 30, 2013) read: “One Door Closes, Another Door Opens.” The article reported that the Bread and Cup Ministry to homeless and needy had been closed when First Christian Church Hutchinson refused, with only 5 days notice, to allow further use of their building for the outreach ministry the church had started one and a half years ago.
That Bread and Cup ministry not only provided a dinner for from 60-100 hungry, homeless and needy Hutchinson residents every Friday, but also maintained an emergency food pantry and a used clothing room. It also gave laundry vouchers to homeless persons.
The door that opened when First Christian Church closed their door was at The Hub. There, the volunteers from First Christian, Park Place Christian Church, First Church of the Nazarene, and several other churches reopened the Bread and Cup on July 19.
Sadly, I now hear that the building The Hub rented has been sold and the new owners will not allow the ministry to continue at that location. At present the volunteers can find no new location that will accept the ministry. So unless the churches and pastors in Hutchinson step up to do the ministry Jesus called them to do for the poor, this program will die after about one and a half years of service to Jesus the Christ—for as you “do it to the least of my brothers”, Jesus said, “you do it to me.”
I hope all churches and their pastors will contemplate a passage in their New Testaments from the Gospel of Luke—Luke 10:25-37. In summary, in this passage Jesus gives to a questioner what he feels is the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” When the questioner asks “who is my neighbor?”, Jesus answers with the parable of a Jewish man on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem who is robbed and beaten and left for dead. Jesus tells how a priest and a Levite, who served in the temple, walk by him on the other side of the road and leave him to die. He then describes how a Samaritan, a race despised by the Jews, stops and binds up the beaten Jewish man’s wounds, puts him on his donkey and takes him to the nearest inn and leaves money to take care of the wounded man with the innkeeper. Jesus asks “who was the neighbor?” and the answer is of course the Samaritan.
Shame on you , pastors; and shame on you who call yourselves followers of Jesus if this Bread and Cup program dies while you “walk by on the other side of the road.” It is my prayer that there are “Good Samaritans” among you who will pick up the burden of this ministry to the poor and needy children of God, and nourish it and care for it in the name of the God you serve!
The question for you is: Which side of the road are you on?