Isaiah asks why spend money on what is not bread and labour for that which does not satisfy? Have you ever bought a present for someone to find that the next time you return to the shop the same item is much less than you paid? There have been several TV commercials over the last few months that have invited you and me to adopt an animal or a child or a community and to pay a sum of money, usually monthly, towards the care or water supply or some other worthy result. January is a time for sales, originally where stores cleared last year’s stock in order to create space for the new seasons stock.
Here is an offer, adopt a street. It won’t necessarily cost you a penny. Organisations who seek sponsorship will send you updates on how the sponsored one is faring. If you adopt a street you will receive no update about the street unless you take the time to walk along it and to enquire of those you meet how they are.
The Round Table, a men’s social and charitable organisation and celebrating its ninetieth anniversary this year, uses the phrase adopt, adapt, improve. When you’ve adopted a street, I’m not sure that adaptation is possible – I mean what else could you use a street for other than moving from one end to the other – but you might improve it. While you’re thinking how your adopted street may be improved, how may you improve the street where you live? One answer, of course, is that the street where you live is improved because you live there. “All at once am I several stories high, knowing I’m on the street where you live.” Not just because I’m in love. We are called to be “salt and light”, if we shine a light into the darker recesses of our streets we will be the more able to see where we need to apply the salt as a powerful, curative, disinfectant.
Be warned, however, if you start rubbing salt into wounds, it hurts, and the patient may lash out in pain. Are you prepared for that?