First, check out this article.
Reading it, I was appalled at the solutions proposed.
Money is not the answer!
Yes, it's part of the answer.
Counselling is part of the answer.
Clean drinking water must certainly be part of the answer.
But none of these are the answer.
Like any sunday-school jerk, I know the right answer.
Always, always, the right answer is Jesus.
But not in a platitudinous here-eat-my-religion way.
In a real-live heart-and-hands sort of way. Jesus.
Jesus, who left his glory and beauty and radiance and came to sin-soaked planet earth to rescue all of us who don't even know how to cry out for help.
Jesus, who reached out his own hands to touch everyone who came to him in need, to heal them and forgive them and bless them.
Jesus, who was accused of eating with sinners. (Thank God! He pressed that accusation to his heart as a badge of joy. Eat with sinners? He did, and does, and will forever.)
Jesus, who came and put flesh and bones on theology and stood on this ground with those beautiful feet.
His hands? His feet?
That's what we're called to be, right?
I think communities like this need Jesus. In the forgiven, grateful flesh of the church. And He tells us to, doesn't he - the challenge rings out in Matthew 25:31-40 -
(v40) Truly, I say to you, as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
I think, christians, we need to stop playing church. Take the money set aside for the next sunday-school barbecue and send a willing person - family - group to live in Neskantaga. To live and help and listen and care and eat and drink and bless and worship there, in Jesus' name.
No amount of mental-health counselling is going to fill the kind of gaps in a woman that committed love can fill. No amount of emergency-response-coordinating will take a despairing addict and give him a reason to live. No Health Canada response will heal a community where 10% of the population attempts suicide in a month.
Oh Jesus-people. We need to have fewer words of excuse and be filled with the Word of life. We need less bread in our grocery cart and more Living Bread in our actions.
Pray for Casey Moonias. Pray for Neskantaga. Pray for our own couch-potato Christianity and the courage to say yes.
In Jesus' name.