I try to do church In a place where drop ins are rare. So when you look across the hall and see four young men (17-19 year olds) siting waiting I am taken back a bit. So during the conversation I discover they are Spanish speaking and I invite my professor over, he speaks Spanish and Russian. They are from Barcelona and stoping in town saw our banner and thought they would visit us. The cynic inside cried out but I ignore that cynic and get tea and coffee organised offer them care and hospitality. Just as the service starts they move table then leave and following them is my retired Colleague. So I go out the other door, me shouting to my colleague to stop he's far to old to be chasing young men.
Well they stole his wife's purse, I chase them and they jump into a car and speed off.
They stole a purse from a blind elderly woman we also find out they stole someone's phone someone who gives generously to our community day in day out.
Last Friday an 80 year old man smoking outside a local elderly village was mugged for his money by four young men, they roughed him up because he would not let them into the complex.
I'm not sure what sort of low life shit gets up of a morning planning to steal its way through the day but we gave hospitality to four today. And I presume until the full painful stinging force of law falls upon them they will repeat today's activity across our city.
Yes I know what some of you are thinking I'm supposed to be a Christian? I should forgive.
Well I'm not open to forgive today maybe tomorrow when my anger has been bathed afresh in Gods grace.
I don't know their story because they chose to abuse hospitality and steel from good people rather than share and ask. They had a good idea they would find in church foolish trusting people willing to build build friendships. I don't know where they were from, Spain? North Africa? London? I don't know because they chose to abuse and steal rather talk.
So now I have a crime number, a hurting congregation and an angry disappointed vicar seeking Some grace.