“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke 9:57-58 NIV)
Yesterday, upon returning to our “home” which is an RV, some of us were approached by two police officers. Just as we had unlocked the door, the police told us to move away from the vehicle, and that we would need to answer some questions. When we asked what the problem was (trying to subdue our rising anger) we were told that WE were not the ones asking the questions, THEY were. What happened from that point on is very common for the homeless in the United States, even if you have a motorhome. You are constantly subjected to harrassment by the local police, who assure you that they are only looking out for your best interests, but more importantly the interests of whatever neighborhood you are at. In the past month, we have been subjected to the “help” of the police in different cities, and with two court dates and the threat of arrest, we are hereby hoping that police will no longer feel the need to “protect & serve” us.
As I lay awake last night, going over the incident, (instead of sleeping) I felt a strong sense of solidarity with the homeless, with the downtrodden and the displaced in every country. Whatever the circumstances may be that lead people to live in an RV or sleep under a bridge, I don’t think this constitutes a crime. However, I am not a lawmaker, nor am I a house owner, so consequently I have little say in the matter when I am approached by police. After all, they say: “WE are the ones who ask the questions”!
After taking time to reflect on the position that Jesus willing subjected Himself to, i.e., homelessness, we need to take a step back and remind ourselves that Jesus likely faced some of these same misfortunes and harassments by the authorities of His day. The great benefit of experiencing these kinds of trials is that hopefully we can become more sensitive to the plight of people around the globe who may be sleeping out in a heavy rainstorm, with no roof over their heads, or waking up to a flashlight being shone in their eyes simply because someone far removed says that piece of land is somehow off limits to people like them. (Regardless of whether or not it has been a vacant piece of land for some time).
By all means we can try to be couteous and try to love our enemies, who at the time might be the authorities who have woken us up from a long awaited sleep. At the same time, we need to be aware that these type of situations are only going to become more frequent to people who are considered “strangers on the Earth.” Even as the cops tried to tell us that they “understood” that times are tough, and they were not personally opposed to what we were doing, (inhabiting our vehicle) nevertheless they had a duty to fulfill and we would need to move on. The problem with “moving on” is that we are most likely going to face the same predicament with a new batch of police who are simply “doing their jobs” as well. As angry as we get about this, it helps us to feel the sting of a corrupt system which favors the rich and despises the poor.
God help us as we continue to live a life that is diametrically opposed to human degredation at the hands of the elected “authorities”, and the ones that they serve!