I tried to get back to sleep for a while but after the rude awakening it was no use. I decided to go downstairs and enjoy the quiet with a cup of coffee and my bible. It was still early when I finished my quiet time and so I thought I would get a few minutes to read the newspaper before everyone else began to stir.
The Hamilton Spectator had a special report on the city's vital signs. You can read a copy of that report here. There was a lot of good news about where the city has improved. Less seniors now live in poverty. James St North has a thriving arts community that seems to be picking up momentum. Crime rates are down and there is progress in the economy. What I also learned though was another rude awakening about the poverty that plagues the city. Child poverty continues to exceeds 50% in many neighbourhoods with an child poverty rate of over 26% for the city. Another shocking statistic is that there is a twenty-one year difference in life expectancy between the poorest and richest neighbourhoods here in Hamilton. That takes my breath away. How is that possible when so many of us have so much?
So as my children began to stir, I was left wondering what children in my neighbourhood were going without breakfast this morning?
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
~ Matthew 25: 34-40
We have a lot of work to do here in Hamilton. Please Lord give us the wisdom to do it well.