I saw Jesus last week. Not literally- I mean, I did see a couple shaggy haired hippy-types (swoon), but I didn’t actually see him walking about town- put your phones down, I don’t need an intervention just yet.
No, I saw Jesus on Skid Row.
I heard his voice in my new friend as she tearfully sung me the Hallelujah Chorus when I informed her that after months of bureaucratic red tape her paperwork and lease were finally completed and ready to be signed.
I saw Jesus in the heart of my co-worker Ally,who sat with our new visually impaired resident, guiding him hand-on-hand as he signed his new lease.
And again in the smile of the man who disclosed to me his HIV status, claiming his diagnoses to be the thing that saved his life, waking him up to the self-destructing lifestyle he’d been living.
I saw him in the team that I work with, whose tears matched my own as we welcomed these folks home after weeks of insanity-inducing work.
And if I am being totally forthright, it sort of confused me. It’s hard to wrap my head around the beauty beneath the ash that is right in front of my very eyes, while it feels like the rest of the world is being engulfed in flames.
I find myself reading through article after article, heavily weighted and haunted by the state of our country’s race relations, by the destruction left in the wake of the earthquake in Nepal and by the absolute evil that is terrorizing thousands on the other side of the world and wonder how it’s possible to see joy, beauty and hope, fearing that I am simply out-of-touch.
Maybe if it were in my own backyard I’d feel differently, I’ve wondered- only to remind myself that it is in my own proverbial backyard.
I’ve been reading a lot of Psalms lately- primarily because I find comfort in David’s wayward emotions, he makes me feel less crazy- or at the very least, understood. In chapter 34 he claims that God is near to the brokenhearted. It makes me laugh to think that I once memorized those words to get me through a break-up and repeated them again when moving a few years back- those things seem a bit trivial to me now, but I can’t deny that they were true then and feel even more true now.
So maybe that’s just it- maybe he is more near in this place, to these people I have come to call my own. David talks repeatedly about how much our Lord loves justice and that His heart beats compassionately for those in need– maybe He’s set up a tent down here too. Or maybe He just knows how desperately I need to see His face some days. I don’t really know, I don’t understand it- I am still wading through dichotomy and theology of it all.
But I believe He’s here and I believe He’s in all of the “there’s”- the places where people need to see Him as badly as they need their next breath.
So I will keep watching.
I will look for those glimpses of His face, praying that not one of us misses him in all this mess and heartache. I will keep hoping that the ash reveals to us a beauty unheard of and I won’t stop praying for shalom.