Homeless? Absolutely not!

Each day as I walk from my car to the office, I am greeted by a man who lives in a lean-to box home against an alley fire escape. He is always chipper and polite. There are others who are popping their heads out of sleeping bags or coming out of cars they've slept in. They usually ask for a handout, and a few are unpleasant when something isn't given. There is another dear one who lived in a car that was taken by the police; he is washing cars and repairing them to earn enough money to purchase another car to live in.

Having walked through that alley every workday morning for over six years, I have sought how I could make an effective and helpful contribution to ameliorating this urban plight.

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I have found the solution to all difficult conditions to be available in the Holy Bible, so that is where my search for an answer began. I noticed many similarities between the homeless people in my city here at the end of the twentieth century and the beggars along the roadsides, the multitudes crying for help, and those sitting beside the Bethesda pool described in the Bible two thousand years ago.

What did Christ Jesus and his followers do?

From the accounts of his healings—of the blind, the lepers, the epileptic boy, the hemorrhaging woman, and so on—one finds that Jesus didn't center his attention on the physical condition, but rather he addressed thought with his instructional questions and directions.

For example, before healing the man who "ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs," Jesus asked him, "What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him" (Luke 8:27, 30). Such spiritually impelled investigative and instructional questions exposed the thought of the individual and the nature of what required healing or transformation.

First I asked myself, What has to change?

I felt that asking myself some questions would begin to transform my view and approach to helping those labeled as homeless. First I asked myself, What has to change? I quickly realized that the mortal, limiting view of man that the physical eyes observe has to be exchanged for the Christly view of man as God created him—spiritual, incorporeal, perfect, supplied, whole.

A question that began to turn my thoughts from an acceptance of the picture before me to a more spiritualized conception of each situation and person was, "How does God see this?" The Bible states that God saw everything he made as "very good" (Gen. 1:31). Dummelow's Commentary on the Holy Bible explains the term good used in this chapter as meaning "perfect for the purpose for which God designed it." So each of God's children has a God-given purpose. It does not include lack or limitation in any form, or ignorance of or resistance to the good God is pouring forth.

What makes me any better than those currently homeless? Nothing. Whatever I know to be true of me as God's idea is true of each individual; and that is the way I must see everyone. Has God not provided completely for His creation? God, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient Spirit, has given in full to each and all of His ideas. The material sense of existence is the culprit that depicts matter as dictating how abundant, whole, good, or successful we are or aren't. In contrast, spiritual sense evaluates how rich our wonderful relationship to God is, and how we can see His love for us. This spiritual relationship to God is forever established, secure, and protected. So, we all are equally able to experience God's provision.

Asking myself, "When I donate food or offer money, what am I contributing to bless homeless individuals?" has brought humble prayer. Often in the past, when I gave food or spare change to people, I did not lift them from a position of need in my own thought. Believing that I had something they needed and lacked did not contribute to a shift in their consciousness toward the recognition that God is the eternal source of all good. Seeing this, I now momentarily turn to God, as the true Mother-Father of all, before giving to others. By lifting myself from accommodating the thought that man could lack, I feel that this is contributing to awakening those who are homeless to their own God-given provision.

How effective is such prayer?

Prayer is effective to the degree we turn to God as the only genuine source and power, and to the degree our motive is pure and spiritually based. Prayer that turns from asking God to move matter around, to recognizing and affirming how He has already provided care in wonderful ways for every aspect of His creation, heals. It is the only viable vehicle by which to correct the false sense of identity and lifestyle of homeless victims.

I have experienced the healing effect of such prayer. In late 1986 I had to move from my home of several years; I had literally no place to go, and no money to pay rent. In less than two years, thirteen different addresses were called home; my cats even lived at my office for six months so that they didn't have to make all the moves with me. I had all the makings of a homeless person, yet I wasn't living on the street. The prayers of years were now caring for me. I carried a spiritual concept of home in my heart that never could be robbed from me. This was God-given. Amid the turmoil I was actually abiding in the kingdom of God, heaven, spiritual harmony. I felt peaceful despite the moving.

During this time I was praying diligently. Also, I was studying and researching the Bible for new insights into home, abode, dwelling. Along with this study, I read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy more than once. (Mrs. Eddy, too, found herself on the street many times in her early search for how to give forth the new understanding of God, and of the healing efficacy of prayer she'd gained through her discovery of Christian Science.)

I felt the divine presence often. Also, each step of the way, as my understanding that home is a spiritual idea that cannot be separated from God's man grew clearer, my housing arrangements grew better. And eventually I became settled in a place where I could live with stability and normalcy.

This experience gave me a more Christly view of those in the alley. I perceived that God's precious and appropriate provision of home was right with them. I realized that they couldn't be numb to this spiritual fact about them as a result of chemistry, history, conditions, or false identification.

My prayers—all of our prayers—for those on the street are still needed, daily. I know that prayer is effective, affirming God's ever-present love for His children. And I have been so grateful to observe a few folks moving on—getting jobs and modest apartments. One couple, by working simple local jobs, collected enough money to travel to another state, where an apartment, car, and job awaited them. A woman found that her talents allowed her to be selected to manage an apartment complex, so she was given both a home and a job.

Are these signs of progress just coincidence? No, because I'm sure many are contributing and praying that those in homeless situations be relieved. Was it just my prayers that brought these results? No! Everyone's Christian prayer that lifts those we embrace in our thoughts to a better sense of their God-given identity is vital.

Let's join together and daily pray for the welfare of our communities. We never again need to accept God's child as homeless.

Inviolate being
June 27, 1994

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