This morning’s St Louis Post-Dispatch online has a two-sentence story of yesterday’s fire in the 3400 block of Arlington Avenue in north St Louis.

And looking at this photo of firemen in their full outfits perched above flames brought to mind Gary Busiek and a team from our St Louis Euclid Corps, busy Thursday aiding firefighters with cold water from a Salvation Army emergency canteen.

It’s been hot this week in St Louis. Firemen don’t need to be dressed head to toe in metal and heavy insulated suits, hovering over a fire in 100+ degree heat indexed weather.

I couldn’t help but also think of several houses ten miles to the south in the West Benton Park neighborhood. They are Salvation Army houses where about a dozen young adults live in a missional community.

Those houses could be empty and at risk just as was the house on the 3400 block of Arlington Avenue. But they’re not.

They are home to men and women living and serving in a neighborhood where human need exists. Need for mentors to young people, serving hungry people. For an urban farm to astonish, inspire and train city folk in possibilities. For hearing the good news of a God who opens his hand in this world of urban and rural neighborhoods, revealing and giving salvation.

That’s a far better use for old yet beautiful St Louis houses than as roasting pits for firemen.

For more information about Temple Houses on Arsenal Street visit the Temple Houses link