Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 12
March 22, 2021
Food Bags on Hotel Doors
Most of us have stayed in hotels from time to time. Usually on vacations. Yes, the room get crowded but on vacation who stays in the room for any length of time? There are places to go and things to see. Who wants to spend a lot of time in the hotel room. Pretty much they all look alike.
I do remember a few vacation days in hotel rooms when it was too rainy to do very much. The girls were bored. There is only so much television that you can watch. Those days seemed to last forever.
Can you imagine a small hotel room being your home? How about the home for a family? Recently a group of us from church supplied the meal for Family Promise in Hackensack. Our congregation has participated in this mission for decades. When I first arrived more than fourteen years ago, I was told that this was an important mission of the church and it was required that the pastor participate. Meals were served in the Bergen County Shelter. I always felt good after feeding hungry people. It gave us all a warm feeling. Now, because of Covid-19, meals are no longer served in the shelter. They are packaged and delivered to the homeless, now housed in area hotels.
I was part of a team that delivered these meals. We went room to room in two different hotels placing food bags on doorknobs, knocking on doors and yelling, “dinner.” A number of residents came out and graciously thanked us. At one room, we left four dinners. It was explained to me that a whole family was living in that room. My heart sank with that news. It is one thing to be single and homeless and another to be homeless with a family. I have been fortunate enough never to have had such an experience.
When I went home I didn’t feel quite so good about my endeavors at feeding the homeless. I was haunted by the fact that I returned to my warm and comfortable home while a family with children lived in a single room. Suddenly my efforts did not seem so significant. It is good that this experience happened in Lent. It reminds me that no matter how hard I try, I am still not righteous. I live in relative luxury while other still live on the edge of survival.
I guess on my Lenten journey toward being Christ-like I still have quite a way to go.
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