One of the things that I will ramble on about at this time of the year is that Christmas is not over. We celebrate until the 6th of January when we begin the Epiphany season and the visit of the Wisemen. Another thing that drives me crazy is the idea perpetrated by someone that Mary and Joseph were poor homeless people and it is not the truth. They had a home, Joseph just forgot to get reservations. If we want to identify them with some needy group how about political refugees? That I believe is the Gospel lesson for this week.
That led me to this picture taken back in October of working folk who got jobs in Williston in the oil fields but have no place to live. Note the rifle and the fishing pole in the “rafters”. I think these folks are still in this spot and the word is that the housing shortage in the Western part of North Dakota is beyond comprehension.
Someone wrote to me and wondered what we can do as the church –How do we respond to the impact of our population increase in Western North Dakota in ways which are feasible and prudent? There are thousands of people moving to western ND. One of my coworkers said he heard the population could increase by 700,000 in northwest ND in the next several years. Possible? Maybe. The oil drilling is now shifting to southwest ND. People say Dickinson will become a hub. I heard that modest 3 bedroom apartments in Dickinson are going for $2,000 per month. I heard that in Williston the rent has went up so high that the elderly on fixed income cannot afford the rent anymore and are forced to move. I read about people coming to western ND with no housing or jobs lined up, only hope of a job. Think about the workers who come to ND and leave family behind for several weeks. Even in Bismarck I think we are starting to be affected by the oil development in western ND. I think we have many new opportunities ahead of us to share the Gospel in our District. I mentioned housing as a need to demonstrate an example. But there are many more needs, including the elderly. How can we demonstrate God’s love for them and share the Gospel?
Good questions – any answers?
Here is the song for the day.