Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Invocation at the Dallas Furniture Bank’s 12th Annual CHAIRity FriendRaiser Luncheon - In the Image of God

Perhaps the busiest night of the year, for our homeless response system, is the night of the Homeless Count. And you can count on the staff and supporters of the Dallas Furniture Bank to step up to the plate that night, year in and year out.

This year, just three weeks ago, we had the largest and most comprehensive Count in Texas history. A few days later, Rev. Linda Roby of First United Methodist Church Dallas, which hosted about 775 of our 1,125 volunteers, asked me a fascinating question. Why, from a theological perspective is it important to engage in this activity, counting the homeless?

One could ask a similar question about the Dallas Furniture Bank. We are all here for a good cause, and last year I shared with you, from the point of view of academic research, why what the Dallas Furniture Bank does is so vitally important. However, from a theological perspective, why is it important to do what they do, namely, “provide furniture to families transitioning from homelessness.”

We need not look too far in the Abrahamic tradition to find an answer. In the very first chapter of the Bible we are presented with a core idea of this ancient tradition, that the original humans were created, bitzelem Elohim, in the Image of God.

The revolutionary power of this idea is limitless. If the original humans were created in the Image of God that means that each and every human today bears that Image. Consequently, each human, from the richest to the poorest, from the billionaire to the person experiencing homelessness, has inherent importance, inherent dignity, and inherent worth.
with Aliah Henry, CEO, Dallas Furniture Bank
And societies invest in what they think is worth the investment. Therefore, a society as rich as ours, a city as vibrant as ours, a community as blessed as ours, not only must, but can invest in ending homelessness. It can provide sufficient affordable housing to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring, housing that the Dallas Furniture Bank will furnish. It can fulfill the mission of the Dallas Furniture Bank and restore normalcy and independence to each one of our homeless friends.

That is the theological significance of the Homeless Count and the Dallas Furniture Bank. Through these seemingly quotidian acts of counting our homeless friends, of providing them with basic furniture to make their houses true homes, we acknowledge that our homeless friends bear the Image of God, and they are worth it.

And, through our presence here today, through our support for the sacred work of the Dallas Furniture Bank, we state, that we will not rest until each of our homeless friends is treated with the dignity that befits fellow human beings. For they too were created bitzelem Elohim, in the Image of God.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading your article. Please make more interesting topics like this on.
    I'll come back for more :)

    From Japs a researcher from Kings Great Buys