Saturday, December 29, 2007

Have You Seen Him?

Imagine that this Sunday Jesus came to your Church. He walked down the aisle and sat in the row in front of you. My question for you is this: what did you just picture in your mind's eye? How did Jesus look, smell, act? Honestly, I have a mental image of Jesus that I think can be more of a hindrance or an idol than a help. I picture a fair skinned man in white flowing robes with gentle bluish-hazel eyes that twinkle when he looks around. I imagine that if he moves it is with rather slow, purposeful and majestic movements. Why can this image of Jesus be a hindrance?

Well, honestly if that is what I think Jesus looks like, I may miss the real Jesus when he shows up. I might miss the real Jesus who was not physically attractive in any way. I may miss the real Jesus who smells of BO and cigarette smoke. I may miss the real Jesus who is poor or weak or an alien or a child. I may miss the real Jesus who is the least of these and who I pass multiple times throughout my day because I am to wrapped up i important matters to notice him.

"St. Francis of Assisi, it is said, found the sight and smell of lepers repulsive. Normally he could spot them afar and give them wide berth. Yet on one occasion, Francis came upon a roadside leper and something entirely different occurred. Compassion rose from within and Francis felt compelled to get off of his horse, offer the leper alms, and embrace the wretched soul-sores, smells and all-even giving him a holy kiss! Climbing back into his saddle, Francis turned to bid the leper adieu, only to discover that he was alone in an empty field. In that moment, he awoke to the conviction that he had encountered Christ himself in leprous disguise."
-Leadership Journal Fall 2007 pg. 31
So, let us cast off false images of our King as we enter into this new year. Let us listen to His words of who he is so that we might recognize him instead of passing him by.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'