Are You the One Who Is to Come?
By Kris Judd of Kansas City, MO, USA
Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. —Matthew 11:4–5 NRSV
The car was filled with brown paper sacks containing sandwiches, cookies, chips, and volunteers from my congregation eager to give out a simple meal to the people on the avenue that dark and cold winter night. The trunk was full of mittens and knit caps ready to give away to those needing protection against the cold night.
In a parking lot, we saw him. He was digging through a dumpster, looking for food to eat, clothing to wear, or an item he could barter for something he needed more. As I drove into the parking lot, he stopped what he was doing, perhaps uncertain of our intents. “Would you care for a sandwich and a bottle of water?” someone in the backseat shouted out.
“Thank you,” he responded, as he made his way to the car. His eyes lit up when we opened the trunk and offered him gloves and a hat. He asked if he could have some more for the six men who were hidden and huddled in the trees. Shouting to them, he made his way with a box full of brown sacks and knit hats.
A month later, on a cold winter night, as we made our way up and down the same street with a car full of food, I spotted the same man. I stopped the car, and we asked the usual question, “Would you care for a sandwich and some water?” Not recognizing us, he stopped for a moment and said, “Thanks, but I’m dying of cancer and don’t need it. Give it to someone who needs it.” There was no bitterness or anger in his voice. Just the recognition there was someone hungrier and needier than a man with only a short time left on this Earth.
The Holy One showed up digging in a dumpster and walking alone on the street, pointing the way to the hungry, the hurting, and the lost. Christ was unexpected and in an unfamiliar costume, but he showed up.
Advent Prayer Phrase
Anticipation deepens within.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Spend a few moments dwelling in God’s presence. Pay attention to where your heart feels drawn into prayer. What words, images, or themes in this story lead you to reflect on your own faith journey? What is God’s invitation to you this day?