(montage: J Fowler)
Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks out on the world.”
While those words sound beautiful, many of us struggle with how to care for broken people. Compassion comes easily for people who are like us, but what about people on the margins of society. How can we be the hands and feet of Christ to people who are struggling in the downward spiral of poverty and isolation?
Can you see the face of Jesus in the faces of those in need?
Yet Jesus was very clear in his teaching that living faith out, somehow we don’t have the option not to care for the down and out.
The Good Samaritan crossed the road and was moved by compassion for the mugged man. He got involved by bandaging his wounds and then took him to the nearest rehab center and paid for his rehabilitation.
What we do for the least of these, Jesus said, is what we do for him. The list included providing food and clothing, looking after people in prison, caring for the sick and taking in strangers.
Compassionate care for the poor is central to the teaching of Scripture. Ultimately the power to overcome poverty lies in learning to live the Jesus way, to follow him in how he interacted with the poor and the marginalized, and to be willing—like Jesus, to lay down our self-centered, materialistic lives to take up the cross of loving generosity, gentle kindness, and tenacious advocacy for the rights of the poor and the oppressed.
The needs of the poor are often complicated. Generations of social castaways are plagued with inadequate education, dilapidated housing and few employable skills.
What can we do find and serve the least of these?
Navigating the inner city streets of victoria since 2003 CARTS has seen many men and women who have become homeless in the city , and as we have visited the marginalized community of the inner city, We have discovered good news of the gospel unfold before us...in profound mystery Jesus comes alive...in our midst. We actually can, in very practical ways, find sustainable, manageable ways to make a difference in the lives of the poor.
Caring for the poor is something we do together. As individuals, as a community, we each have a role to play. The spirit stirs the waters of compassion within us to move in faith, to move love into action feeding and clothing the homeless, providing shelter, caring for the sick and ministering to those suffering. Each of us can plant our humble seed of faith, into nurturing friendships. More than anything poverty needs friendships.
It's hard to believe we're coming up to a year on our new route through the inner city of Victoria. We continue to humbly nurture this beautiful ministry...we act in faith, and God continues to faithfully provide. I'm blessed to be part of this inner city community.
And this from Fran Slofstra last evening...
"God does provide faithfully! We made 460 cookies last night! Praise God for volunteers to do so, the kitchen at PCS and the pounds and pounds of ingredients!! Awesome!"
There are so many things that happened behind the scenes that make CARTS happen on a Sunday. Many people we don't see, the faces behind the cookies...the faces, the laughter, the joy, the hands...the ingredients of " love " beyond the sugar, the chocolate chips, flour, smarties.
The love of the volunteers permeates everything CARTS is...it's the fuel the powers, it's what embraces, it's what inspires, it fills, it feeds...it's what makes God visible.
In a sense, Sunday CARTS are a bit of " faith-filled " miracle. We are a small, local, organic and fluid community...with a shoe string budget. Some weeks the shoe string is shorter than others. But, much like the parable of the few loaves and fish we faithfully put it all in the hands of Jesus and he always seems to multiply what little we have.
Thanks...to everyone, seen and unseen...your love is felt every week.
We are slowly re-booting the website that has been dormant for a while. One thing we want to bring to the forefront of the " WEBSITE " is the blog. We hope this will be a space of engagement, of conversation...where we can share CARTS stories. Where we can let you know what's happening on the streets of Victoria's inner city. We hope to talk about compassion, hospitality, grace...and a whole lotta Love. So again please join us in conversation, and practice...as we continue the mysteriously, beautiful journey of Love.
We are a local Victoria, BC charity dedicated to fulfilling our mission: