A BBC story about a pastor that disguised himself as a tramp reminded me of a sermon by Mike Breaux. Seems that, years and years ago, Brother Breaux disguised himself as a homeless person. He wore old army clothing, a nasty wig and a beard. Sunglasses and a couple of paper grocery bags into which he had stuffed his "belongings" completed the ensemble. Oh yeah, there was also the smell. He had deliberately stunk up his clothing to make himself seem as though he had been on the streets for some time.
He was scheduled to preach for the Sunday night worship service at his church. (Remember when we used to have Sunday night church?) He arrived about the time the service was to start and made his way into the "sanctuary." Nobody spoke to him. Mother's drew their children close. Hostile stares greeted his walking down the aisle. He chose a seat about half way toward the front.
At the conclusion of the song service, the worship leader sat down. The congregation began shifting in their seats wondering where Pastor Mike was. Had he forgotten? Was he somehow detained? Then, the "bum" rose from his seat. He slowly made his way toward the pulpit, shedding the wig and clothing as he went. Brother Mike related that, by the time he stepped to the pulpit, he was sick to his stomach by the insensitive way he was ignored. So, as he tells it, was his congregation at the realization of what had just taken place.
I wonder how South would react in similar circumstances. Would we embrace the un-embraceable? Would we welcome the unwelcomed? Would we draw in "the least of these" or would we suggest a church down the street where they might be "more comfortable?" I hope (and I believe we would) be Jesus to whomever comes to our door.