I’m driving back. The sun is glaring off the opulent wealth of Canary Wharf. The radio is on and a beat is going through my head. The beat isn’t the music though. The beat is Catherine Booth. True or not I don’t know - but on finishing each chapter of 'Darkest England and the Way Out' – It is said that William was given it straight by Catherine. "Praise up humanitarianism as much as you like, but don't confuse it with Christianity, nor suppose that it will ultimately lead its followers to Christ."
I’m driving back and that is the beat and I can't shift it. An hour earlier I'd met Joel. Joel whose life is his secret – this 18-year old whose life is in free-fall. No family he can turn to. Lost his flat. Sleeping in the cold and wet. "I got in with the wrong crowd and I f**ked up". I know Joel. We talk and I hear the intense grief of losing his Nan. His guilt. The out of hand parties. The eviction. I hear about the streets and the cold. An hour earlier I’d been able to get Joel into the SA hostel system – (none of the Mr Hopgood pain) for a night at least.
I’m driving back – I left Joel as he was having his entry assessment to the hostel. "If all goes well we’ll move you from emergency to more permanent accommodation, we’ll get you onto a resettlement programme and give it our best shot to get you re-housed". I watch him. He looks cold and scared but at the corner of his mouth I see the beginnings of hope. The recognition of the chance of a fresh start.
I’m driving back and I wonder has the last hour been a waste of time in terms of the Kingdom of God? I'm driving back and I am thinking of what I have just been part of - mere humanitarianism? Christianity? Christian humanitarianism? (surely an oxymoron of some sort)!
I like to think that for the last hour I've tried to be the hands and feet of Jesus! A waste of time - who knows - all I know is that tonight Joel is warm and dry?