At the gate

         There was a rich man
         who was dressed in purple and fine linen
         and who feasted sumptuously every day.
         And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…

                           â€”Luke 16.19-20

If I believed in a literal hell I would have to take note
that here and in the great judgment of the sheep and goats,
the one criterion for being sent up or down
is how we treat the poor.

Of course I give to the poor at the food bank.
But I still keep them outside my gate, don’t I?

And what of the socially homeless, the wounded,
the lonely, the scared, the trans, the different?
How do I cut myself off
from the hurting outside my gate?
How do I shelter myself in my privilege?
How do I love that gate?
What shields me from other people’s suffering,
from other people’s vulnerability?
Today will I even notice it?
What can I do today to open the gate,
to invite them in, or to go out?
Only when our gates are open can they become
the gates of heaven.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

September 25, 2019

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