“If everyone were holy and handsome, with "alter Christus" shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God's way for her nor is it Christ's way for Himself now when He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.” Dorothy Day (Room for Christ)
Most Sunday evening dinners at UrbanMission are populated by a cross section of our community. In one evening I sit and listen to two friends talk about the best places to sleep on the streets so as not to get harassed…a mother of four fending for herself, struggling to get shoes for her kids, her husband deported now for three years…an old 12th Street OG talk about his time in jail, drug addiction, numerous stories of over dose, and the experience of coming to Jesus in a Christian home…finally, two dark characters emerging from the shadows with runny noses, covered in sores and street grime, asking for food, groceries, and drink,…
“If everyone where holy and handsome” as sister Dorothy suggests, I might better see Christ in each of these. What confronts me is much less evident. Where is Christ in all of these? “He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.” How then does one develop eyes to see and ears to hear? How are we to go about unmasking these weekly visitors enabling us to see clearly the light of Christ shining, to see Christ himself standing before us?!
I am reminded this week of the apostle Thomas who failed to recognize Christ standing before him until he reached into his side. “My Lord and my God,” was his exclamation. If by his wounds Christ was recognized, then perhaps by the wounds we see in those who stand before us each week we recognize them as Christ. Reach out and put your finger here, in the holes left by divorce, deportation, incarceration, hypodermic needles, hunger, mental illness, addiction, abuse, homelessness, unemployment, loneliness. “Do not doubt, but believe.” It is the Lord in flesh and bone.
Pastor Stephen Patten
From the Mountain is a 'cyber sanctuary' where sermons and other musings are posted for the general consumption of a larger community. Feel free to reflect on them as you wish. You are welcome to leave comments below with thoughts, insights, and/or questions.