58And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ Luke 9:58
You have seen this sculpture in my blog in the past, along with this verse. It was created by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz and there are a number of casting in cities around the world. It is called "Homeless Jesus" although the only indication that this is the Christ are the wounds in the exposed feet. Schmalz is a devout Roman Catholic who wants those who ponder the sculpture to see Christ in the poor and the outcast; "I want people, when they see the marginalized in our community to realize that these people are sacred." I have spoken with Timothy and he kindly sent me a small casting of the sculpture which is in my study.
Yesterday Ruth, my wife, stopped in at Urban Escape Café in downtown Belleville to drop off some or her knitting, mittens and a scarf, for those who "sleep rough" in this community. The owner, Juliet DeWal, has a heart for street folk in the city and makes sure that they have food, blankets, warm clothes. This sudden and intensely cold weather has meant that these vulnerable individuals are at added risk.
There is a need for the practical necessities, but also for an awareness of this reality in our community and many others, not just during winter weather, but all through the year. When I cycle to work along the water I often see people emerge from the woods or sitting on benches, obviously having spent the night. They are largely invisible in our society, and efforts to create shelters and programs for them are low priority.
When we are tempted to complain about those first few chilly moments in a vehicle or waiting for a bus we can be aware of the realities of the homeless, the poor, the marginalized. We can pray and respond, however we are able.