Wednesday, March 19, 2008

holy week: identity crisis

My girls play soccer, and every spring we get a letter asking if we would be willing to house someone from the UK who would be coming over to work as a trainer with the kids during the summer. I’ve thought about it, but have never responded.

I wonder what would happen if Jesus were coming to town, and a letter went out to all church goers asking whether anyone would be willing to put up the Lord for a while, you know, a small room, dinners, stuff like that.

This morning, I realized that Jesus did come to town last night. And like the traveling UK soccer player, I thought about but never responded.

In his final teaching before handing Himself over to Pilate, the chief priests and the mobs, Jesus tells us:
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.'

As a man, as a Christian, I often think about myself as a “do-gooder”. I volunteer with kids who have disabilities twice a month. I’ll give a day to Habitat for Humanity once or twice a year. If I pass a homeless guy on the street, I’ll almost always drop my spare change into his cup. I give generously to good causes, yada yada. I might even sum it up in a prideful fashion as ‘I do more than the average guy’.

But what if I got a phone call last night, like “Heh Ed, Jesus is in town and he’s got no place to sleep – can you come over?” Yes, of course.

“Heh Ed, Jesus is down the block, and he’s looking for something to eat… can he pop over for dinner?” Yes, of course.

“Heh Ed, Jesus is about to give a big speech and he spilled some grape juice on his shirt, can he use one of yours?” C’mon, you don’t even need to ask! He can have the shirt off my back if he likes.

But the truth is… Jesus was in my town last night. And he was cold. And hungry. And had no place to sleep.

And I never responded.


wilsonian said...

tears are slipping down my cheeks
in recognition of my own lost opportunities...

Ed G. said...

My heart aches, too, but more for the opportunities and people I will let slip by in the days ahead...

First thought this morning was that my compass was off-kilter... hmmm, musta heard that somewhere before...