This is the season when folks will typically be moved in their hearts and feel more likely to give to the “Cause of the Less Fortunate”. People will give generously of their time and volunteer in shelters and soup kitchens.
Blanket, shoe and coat drives will take place. Loose change will be dropped in a bell ringer’s bucket and wallets will be opened so that on December 25th many people will be fed, clothed, warmed and sheltered while families and children in desperate situations will be given “glad tidings” and gifts of the season.
This is a very, very good thing. This is a very, very necessary thing. This is exactly what Jesus talking about when He referred to giving to ” the least of these” in His name. (Matthew 25: 31-46)
But then comes December 26th and the 363 days following…what then? When the plight of the destitute and the homeless becomes a little less pressing on our hearts, when the lives and people suddenly become a little more invisible, a little easier to ignore…what’s the story then?
That’s part of the point Alene Snodgrass and her Co-author Rick strive to make in their collaborative book, Graffiti. The point is simple: there’s a story behind every situation and we may be surprised how similar some stories are to our own.
Quite often we are unnecessarily afraid of people and situations we just don’t understand. Or worse, we lump a bunch of people and ideas together and never take the time to explore the individual circumstances. We tend to dismiss and discard others way too easily in our disposable society. (tweet)
Homelessness tends to carry with it the stigma of leprosy; we tend to assume those who are homeless “deserve it”and are to be feared or can’t do any better and are to be pitied. In either case, the whole “problem” is to be avoided at all costs. The sad result is that the homeless have become the new class of “untouchables” in our society.
Grafitti doesn’t set out to put the record straight on either side of the spectrum; the authors simply share their individual stories with mutual appreciation and respect and in the process show how the Gospel of Christ can blend these sometimes frayed and dirty fragments of our lives into a beautiful tapestry; if we make ourselves available to find out more.
This book succeeds in the most important way: it simply shows through the telling of these two life stories and from each of their unique perspectives…
how absolutely level is the ground before the cross.
It’s here we recognize that our Greatest Common Denominator is not going to be found in where we live, what we drive, what we eat or wear or do. Our Greatest Common Denominator is found in Christ alone. (tweet) It’s here we discover that we are ever more alike in the most important ways, even while we are so very different. That’s the beauty of Graffiti.
Above all through this telling, we learn that Alene and Rick are ministers of the Gospel in their particular circles of influence. Each of them has been tooled by the Master Craftsman Himself and fitted for individual purposes and ministry.
One just happens to live on the street and the other strives to live outside her comfort zone. We’re invited to live there too.
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