#WinterStormJonas is in full effect in our city. New York City mayor, DeBlasio has released a travel ban noting, "any non-emergency vehicle is banned from traveling the road after 2:30pm (Saturday) until further notice." NYPD has further announced that anyone traveling the road will be arrested! In the midst of all the closures, including our Sunday service, we're are encouraging everyone to keep warm and stay safe. While we won't be gathering together for service we can still be the Church. Here are some other encouragements to consider this weekend:
Everyone will be shut-in— college student neighbors, elderly neighbors, new neighbors, long-standing neighbors, newlywed neighbors, single-parent neighbors, big family neighbors. How can you consider them while they're all shut indoors? Can the elderly neighbors use a hand with moving things around the house? Do families with kids need help going to the park to sled down the bunny hill? Do new neighbors need company or someone to chat with? Anyone need a hot cup of Bustelo?! Take an hour or two to make yourself more available than you're use to. Knock at your neighbor’s and door to ask if they need anything from the supermarket? Compassion and relationship will always precede influence.
This one might take a lot more resolve, intentionality and knowledge. The NYC homeless population is overwhelming. Psalm 142 reminds us that,
"I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge,my portion in the land of the living."
Some of us know exactly where our homeless congregate in the neighborhood. As we hold a message of goodness, hope, refuge and shelter — how can we lead people in the direction of shelter and refuge from the blizzard? Below are some shelters in a one mile radius to point people to:
Safe Horizon: 1868 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10031
Sienna House: 85 W 168th St, Bronx, NY 10452
Ft. Washington Men's Shelter: 651 W 168th St, New York, NY 10032
Family Shelter: 151 E 151st St, Bronx, NY 10454
Help USA: 1780 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10457
One of our sisters said on twitter today, "snow days are an opportunity to make relationships closer. Be creative about ways to spend time together and enjoy each other." Weather like this often times has the tendency to slow us down after we have failed to do it ourselves. Use this weekend to dig deep, play hard and listen well. This will help strengthen your fruitful relationships, mend broken ones and create new ones.
God Bless! Pastor Rich