I Saw Jesus

I saw Jesus

“What is that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.”  ― Walt Whitman

I saw Jesus. I was dressed in smart casual clothes, I wore an apron and my mind was filled with a million little thoughts about both the present moment and future plans.

I saw Him more than once. He looked different each day, a different skin tone, stature and dress. I served Him a fried breakfast complete with fried bread and cooked tomatoes. I offered Him a hot drink and made sure to ask if He wanted sugar and milk. He seemed grateful for the food, grateful but weary.

I watched Him as He ate. He sat silently eating, sometimes looking around in a daze at those around Him, lost in His own world. Sometimes He was agitated and irritable, annoyed with His life and the hand He had been dealt. Sometimes He made conversation, shared parts of His life story and the intricacies of how He came to be seen by me.

I listened and tried to show the empathy I felt filling my heart. I wished I could alleviate His painful past, His disappointing present and the long road ahead that was His future.

At times the stench from Him was awful, at others barely noticeable. I showed Him where the showers and laundry rooms were, helped Him fill out an application form and laughed at His jokes… I was relieved He still found some joy in humour.

I admired His tenacity of spirit, knowing I would probably not have half as much were I to walk the same road as Him.

His language was rough and honest but polite when around me. I hoped He didn’t think I was judging Him. I hoped He knew that I believed in Him, that I could see the gifts and goodness within Him. I wanted Him to know I had hope for Him.

‘He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces. He was despised and we held Him in low esteem.’- Isaiah 53

I was not the only one who saw Jesus. Many others did, and many others served Him, although I am not sure they recognised who He was.

I saw Jesus in a day centre for the homeless and vulnerable. It was an honour.

‘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…”’- Matthew 25

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Monday Prayers

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Father God,

We turn away from the practice

 Of honouring You with our words

But not with our lives.

We turn away from declaring “Lord, Lord”

While not doing what You say.

We honour Your words as precious and vital

Life-building material.

Show us how to incorporate Your word into our lives

And our lives into Your word.

May our lives reveal a deep and beautiful foundation

A testimony to all we meet.

That Christ is the only firm foundation upon which to build

Always has been, always will be.

All other ground is

Sinking sand.

-Luke 6 v 46- 49

 

You Who Are Spiritual

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‘Brothers and Sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently…Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way fulfil the law of Christ. If any of you think you are something when you are nothing, you deceive yourselves. Each of you should test your own actions’

-Galatians 6

Straight talking from Paul the apostle, words that cut to the chase and cut straight to my heart.

There are many times when I see something about someone, and feel I’ve caught a glimpse of the ‘why’ behind their ‘what’. It may be an area of brokenness that infiltrates their life and compromises their relationships. A wound still fresh from the past that affects their daily lives and ability to trust. Or fears that hound them incessantly, hindering their growth and development.

The trouble is; it’s the ‘what’ that presents itself before the ‘why’. The ‘what’ of a bad attitude, blatantly rude and selfish behaviour, a critical spirit, negative mind-set or assuming the worst. These things are hard to get past.

It takes a work of the Holy Spirit to see underneath the layers of behaviour to the heart of a matter

Call it discernment, call it insight or call it emotional intelligence. The pressing issue is what are we going to do about it? How do we respond to the things we discern?

I must confess my default has been to react to behaviour first, possibly moan and complain to a close family member or friend. This is eventually followed by reflection, and contemplation of the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of behaviour.  If I make space to connect with God and hear what He has to say, I do something positive about it and pray.

I pray for myself and my reactions, asking God to help me respond differently the next time. I pray for the person, pray that the things I have discerned, the hindrances and wounds, would be removed and healed in their lives. 

I believe God’s intention in discernment is for us to pray for, not slate the person. To use our words to build up and edify, not tear down. Honouring who God created them to be, what He has invested in their life, recognising the greatness within.

It doesn’t need to be a long drawn out prayer, we don’t need to go digging for more information with the person or confront them with what we have discerned. We just need to humble ourselves and be faithful, knowing that one day soon we will need others to do the same for us.

Transformation of the heart occurs when we live like this. I have noticed my own heart changing towards a person during the act of praying for them. A guard over my heart comes down and I let love for that person come out. I release the need to try and protect myself.

This is spiritual restoration from a distance. Living by the Spirit.

This is what it means to be spiritual; there but for the grace of God go I …

“There are still some wonderful people left in this world! They are diamonds in the rough, but they’re around! You’ll find them when you fall down– they’re the ones who pick you up, who don’t judge, and you had to fall down to see them!”― C. JoyBell C.