How many times in our everyday life do we miss seeing the face of Jesus in others? If you stare at the 3 black dots in the above picture for about 30 seconds and then close your eyes, you will see an image of Jesus. Sometimes it is hard to recognize his face! Matthew 25:31-46 is a passage that has for years been stuck in my head...Jesus is saying if you feed the hungry, give the thirsty something to drink, welcome a stranger, give clothing to the naked, take care of the sick, and visit those in prison, it is the same as doing it to him. How different this world might be if when we look at our neighbor, we see Jesus!
Let me share some recent "Jesus/neighbor" encounters I have had recently....
Walter (who gave me permission to use his name) has been homeless since January. For about the last month we have let me crash a couple of times a week on the couch at church. His vehicle broke down last Thursday, and it needed major work. I am so thankful that we had a mechanic in the neighborhood who could initially help and then others who took over. The good news is that WestCAP, a social service agency, will give financial assistance for his car as well as search for a place for him to live while he files for disability. In the meantime, we were able to get him into one of our county homeless shelters. I see the face of Jesus in the people who run these programs and everyone who has helped Walter.
We've also been assisting a couple who were homeless but now they have both found employment and a place to live. Yeah! They just need a little encouragement and help from time to time.
Another... a middle-aged woman on disability who struggles to make ends meet and recently spent the night in the ER. When you don't have your health, you are at the mercy of so many, especially when you are single and don't have anyone to support you financially.
Another... a young mom with children who started a new job and is working lots of hours but also trying to keep her household running and take care of others in her extended family. She is running on empty and needs a little boost now and then...it has been a blessing to meet her and inspirational to hear her story.
Another... a young mom with a toddler who just started a new job but lost it because she had car issues and couldn't make it to work. In rural areas, with no public transportation, a stable vehicle is a necessity. The good news? She got hired at another company, with higher pay and better benefits. Yeah! It is an honor to walk with her.
Another... an older man of our congregation, a WWII vet, who was just transferred to another nursing home. I love visiting with him and sharing communion. He was being attended by a nurse when I got there who happens to be the daughter-in-law of one of our members. She is such a blessing, and I'm sure she sees Jesus in the people under her care. God bless those who work in facilities where they care for people!
Another... last Thursday at the Bible study in county jail, there was woman who noticed my Luther Point Bible Camp hoodie that I had on. She shared with a smile that she had gone there when she was a kid. Just in that hour of meeting her for the first time, I knew that life had been very difficult for her. Perhaps Bible Camp was a safe and fun place for her, just as it for so many of our youth; a way to see and experience Jesus.
I am so thankful for all youth to have the opportunity to go to Bible Camp. I was there last Thursday morning and met the new assistant director, Sam, who is a wonderful addition to the Luther Point staff. Check out the camp at www.lutherpoint.org.
As you go out and about this week, may you be intentional about seeing Jesus in the face of others; even faces that may challenge you!
Blessings, Pastor Maggie