August 13, 2012
You Have Done It to Me
Tolstoy wrote that in a certain town there lived a cobbler, Martin Avdeitch. He lived in a small basement room whose one window looked out onto the street, and all he could see were the feet of people passing by. But since there was hardly a pair of boots that had not been in his hands at one time for repair, Martin recognized each person by his shoes. Day after day, he would work in his shop, watching boots pass by.
One day he found himself consumed with the hope of a dream that he would find the Lord's feet outside his window. Instead, he found a lingering pair of worn boots belonging to an old soldier. Though at first disappointed, Martin realized the old man might be hungry and invited him inside to a warm fire and some tea. He had other visitors that evening, and though, sadly, none were Christ, he let them in also. Sitting down at the end of day, Martin heard a voice whisper his name as he read the words: "I was hungry and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in. Inasmuch as you did for the least of these, you did unto me."
The Christian journey is a journey of remembering and preparing. Christ came to us long ago, and He is coming to us again. Like Martin eagerly waiting at the window, we are to ask ourselves as time moves forward: “Will Christ come to me this day? Will I wait for him? Am I ready for him? Am I even expecting to find him?” We are reminded to prepare our hearts and minds for the day Christ will come in glory. But the Scriptures would also have us remember how unexpectedly Christ at times appears--as a baby in Bethlehem, a man on a Cross, as a woman in need.
In the book of Titus, we read, "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." How and where might His grace show up this week? Perhaps in order to remember how much we can offer others, we need to consider again the radical thought of what God has offered us: a Son who comes down to us, a redeemer willing to die for us, a God willing to redefine what is near.
The Christian journey is full of reminders of what God's nearness means. The focus of Christmas is the message of Immanuel – God is with us. The focus of Easter is the declaration of the Cross – God is for us. And the focus of our future is the hope of the resurrection – God will bring us safely home. Until then, God knows all, God is above all, and God is among us, even when it seems most unlikely: "I tell you the truth; whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me."
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