In the last couple of days, as the weather has warmed, I’ve received a small influx of folk coming to the parish office seeking help. They ask for gas money, food, mattresses to sleep on, and in one case, spiritual counsel. These are always interesting visits and of course raise a whole lot of other concerns: are they being honest, am I enabling folks, do I say no (yes, sometimes I do), and most important of all what would be a compassionate and Christian response? Two of the guys who’ve come in on separate days claim to be from the same state and have a disabled girlfriend, but don’t claim to know each other. We’ll see what happens. We need to be wise as pastors and churches but we also need to be loving and open to the stranger (a tough tension to live out!). These visits have proven to be good, but unexpected Lenten disciplines for me.