Jesus said that He had nowhere to lay his head. He knew the pain of having no fixed abode, no place of security on this earth.
Hold that thought.
Today my great neice and great nephew, along with other family members, walked the low tide beach together and found a strange collection of about 20 hermit crabs, inside their little periwinkle houses, walking around at the edge of the waves. Now, to find a single hermit crab is always fun for a small child, but to find so many in one place is quite exceptional and we had a great time watching them.
One little crab had no shell, and he (she?) became the subject of everyone’s concern. It was homeless. No doubt it had outgrown its previous shell and was out looking for new digs, but we were concerned. Compassion for homeless creatures apparently begins early in life. How could we help? Maybe a seagull would eat the poor wee thing! We looked in vain for an empty shell for the homeless crab to move into, something just the right size, but alas, nothing suitable could be found. Thankfully, the vulnerable crab washed out on a wave before any hungry birds could spot him and gulp him down. We all expressed a hope that he would find a new home out in the sea.
Btselem, a human rights watchdog organization, and EAPPI, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, have been observing the sudden homelessness of more and more Palestinian and Bedouin people in the Occupied Territories this year. This is due to the loss, due to illegal demolition, of far too many homes of far too many people in the first half of 2011. The pace of demolitions is speeding up. Where do the homeless and impoverished people go when they find everything they own turned to a pile of rubble? Unlike the hermit crab, this is not a natural process, a sort of evolution. Human beings without shelter. Do they disappear into the sea of humanity?
Is there a threshold effect? How many does it take? Is 706 illegally displaced persons enough for half a year? Or is one too many? One diabetic or one child without shelter in the desert. Isn’t even one enough for us to take notice, and worry, and weep?