"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." --James 1:27
"If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless-but from my youth I reared him as would a father,and from my birth I guided the widow- if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,or a needy man without a garment, and his heart did not bless me for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,knowing that I had influence in court then let my arm fall from the shoulder,let it be broken off at the joint. " Job 31:16-22
What is the gospel? The gospel is nothing less than Christ conquering death and sin through the death on the cross and resurrection, but the gospel is also much more than the proclaimation of Christ's death and resurrection. If we proclaim Christ's death and resurrection, yet do nothing to care for the needs of those around us, we have not proclaimed the gospel. For the soul we aim to lead to Christ is contained in a body that may be distracted by hunger or pain. James says, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
The homeless in Des Moines need to see the gospel that cares for people's needs. Homelessness in Des Moines is a bigger problem than we can see. A book is coming out this Friday called From a growing community: Iowa Homeless Youth by Danny Hagen. The book contains nine firsthand accounts from homeless youth in the Des Moines area. The book release is at 7pm on Friday June 12th, at Mars Cafe. Finn Miles, a local musician, will also be playing during the release. This work will be another step in shedding light on homelessness in Des Moines. As ambassadors of the gospel of Christ, I pray we will do more than read and shake our heads in pity. I pray we will bring the gospel to the poor and struggling.