Downtown Street

Sunday, February 16, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Father Lead Me Day By Day"1 (Lyrics)

A slightly built woman in her late twenties lay curled in a fetal position on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and a parking lot, just a few doors down from where I live. "Could you call 911 for help?" I asked someone going by with a cell phone. Two blocks away, a fire siren began signaling a response. A situation like this in today's downtown is usually drug-related. How to help?

Although in my walker, I was unable to give any active help, nevertheless, I was concerned about first responders disrespecting and misusing force with those they deal with repeatedly. I decided to be a witness to what was going on.

The fire truck arrived and then two cops, who said that they didn't need my help. I resisted. "We've dealt with her before," a fireman said, getting back on his truck. One of the cops bent gently down and asked the woman if she'd like a cigarette.

The other cop motioned for me to move on. I shook my head, no, planted my feet, and began to take mental notes. The woman was sitting up now, smoking groggily. One of the cops pointed to a women's shelter, significantly half a block away. They decided to walk her down to it. "No need for you to stay," the first cop told me over his shoulder, raising the woman to her feet.

His partner took her other arm, and being an obvious fifth wheel, I trailed stubbornly along with my walker, waiting until I saw the shelter door close behind her and the two headed back to their car. Then, I went home and wrote a letter of commendation to the chief of police for their gentleness and respect in this situation, praying for everyone involved.

Luke 10:27,29 – [Jesus] replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." … But [the lawyer], wishing to justify and vindicate himself, asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" (AMP)

Google's answer is: "Neighbor – a person living near or next door to the speaker or person referred to". A cab driver tells me about his new neighbour who killed his dog, then stole his truck and wrecked it. "When he gets out of jail, he'll still live next door to me." According to one rule of thumb, anyone within a half-block area from where we live is technically our neighbour. A writer on the English constitution calls neighbours "a tyranny — the eye of the man who lives at your door".

When Jesus told us to love our neighbour as ourselves, He didn't add any qualifiers to our responsibility for them. It was enough that we are in contact with them and that they are in need of our help.

Prayer: Dear Father of heaven and earth, You know that these days, we seldom can give hands-on care as the good Samaritan could and did in Bible times. But through Your grace we can bear witness, ensure that proper care is given, and be faithful to support the fallen, those suffering addiction and the pain of this world. How grateful we are that You give us opportunity to be present for our neighbours, doing the day's work that You have allowed us to do in Your name. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Thanks for the challenge, Rose.

    May God bless you and that young woman, Rose!

    A beautiful image of pure, caring love. Thank you, Rose.

    Thanks, Rose! We all need your stubbornness and compassion.

    Kudos to you Rose for your stubborn persistence and kindly gesture! Who says we can’t influence others as we become less active and in our later years! You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

    The last few weeks I have been teaching a youth class. At my age. My theme is: getting to know Jesus. And we have been reading, thinking and talking about compassion. Yes. And Yes. What a great illustration for them! We are moving on to forgiveness, but I will share your story with them. Thank you.

    Dear Rose:
    I am so proud of you! Can you imagine how proud our Lord is? Well done, good and faithful servant. I really can see other people walking on the other side of the road for people who suffer like this woman.
    God bless you. I wish you were my neighbour, you are my sister in Christ.

    Thank you Rose for your devotional writing.
    Truly you were a “good Samaritan” to this lady, staying by until you saw that she got adequate and proper care in her time of need. We never know when the Lord puts us in a situation of response, and we must have willing hearts to assist.
    Blessings to you for your caring response.

    Good Morning Rose!
    What a great example for us all. Being a witness and following up with a letter of commendation/recognition of the gentleness and respect you witnessed! Good for you and to remind us all. What a difference it could make to have their chief commend them for a job well done! I’m sure it would encourage them to keep up the good work!
    This reminded me of a ‘nudging’ I had recently. Something made me ‘think’ about a hotel and that I should extend my thanks to the staff for their wonderful compassion and care while I stayed there after suddenly losing my husband. Next thing you know, fb posted ads about that hotel and I was able to contact them. I thanked them and I specifically hi-lighted one staff member who God had used to give me what I call ‘hold-on, healing hugs’ every time I entered the lobby.
    Talk about the right thing to do!! He did send an email expressing how his 29th birthday was the next day and my letter was the greatest present he could ever receive!
    A couple of the staff were God’s hands and arms to me, a stranger. I was in need of help and they treated me with care, respect and His love.
    Thanks for sharing this and reviving this memory for me.

    I am grateful to know there are no boundaries around our neighbors… that is freedom!

    Ms. DeShaw, Rose, I want to thank you for your writing posted occasionally in the PresbyCan Daily Devotional. You provide a unique perspective on our Christian faith and bring life experiences that enliven the devotionals. I sometimes share your work with a small bible study I lead.

    Dear Rose De Shaw,
    Thank you for reminding us to “Love our neighbors as ourselves.”
    I wonder if you can visit the lady you write of, and speak the Gospel of God’s love to her– who in God’s eyes is loved. Take her some sweets or a bottle of cranberry juice. And some brief but pertinent portions of scripture.
    God bless you for your concern and guide your footsteps and words for Jesus’ sake.

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