I spent eight hours on Thursday fighting crime on The Hill. Well, I don’t do any actual fighting as a chaplain, and there wasn’t much crime (I got lucky). But I did experience plenty of heartache, that’s for sure. I guess Thursdays can be “weird call” day. And we got them. I rode with a female officer who was a model deputy, with compassion and wisdom at each encounter. And I had the chicken sandwich at Chicken Maison. I highly recommend it. Even if you have to eat in in a dark parking lot on the hood of a cruiser. Maybe that made it tastier? Not sure. But it was delicious and new for me.

Anyway, I got home emotionally spent (as usual) and wide awake. Sleep wasn’t happening, so I wrote a Back Page. Isn’t that what any normal person would do when they can’t sleep on a Thursday night? But I came home with renewed admiration for our local law enforcement personnel. They are dedicated, kind and have a genuine desire to help us all, even though not supported well in the justice system.

I came home thinking we need to expand the reach of our community impact. We have the hope most everyone I encountered needed. Problem with raising children? We can help. An elderly relative dies? We can comfort. Fraud? Well, we can hold a hand if that happens and provide some folks with the know-how to deal with it. The only way to thrive is with a walk with Jesus. We have that hope.

I saw many open doors for ministry, if only we were connected. How could that happen? We must “plant” more “missionaries” in the community. We need more believers who bring hope to the hopeless. I think Jesus called that being “salt and light” in the world. We live as if everything in the South Bay is just fine, but there is pain in our neighborhoods. Lots of it. We need to be ready to show compassion and love and grace to those struggling. That means we need to grow — we need to have more secret agents for Jesus planted among all the neighborhoods and condo developments and apartments. We need to be ready — ready to give an answer for the hope we have.

The needs around us are huge. But God is our only hope. People don’t need our platitudes, they need Jesus. So, let’s redouble our efforts to be salt and light in a world of shadows and aimless wandering. Be ready to be the ambassador you already are. Let’s grow so that hope will be there when it’s needed. Meet your neighbors! Know your neighbors. It’s a start.