Have You Seen Jesus Anywhere Around Here?

August 2nd, 2007 • Category: Variety Week
by David Squire

Today’s scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 20-27 and Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on these passages (David Squire):

Do glib Christians ever aggravate you? They do me.

“I’m confused. I don’t know what to do,” I say. And they say, “Trust Jesus!”

I say, “I have a problem and my heart is breaking.” “Jesus is all you need!” they say as they walk away. Pleasant words, I guess, but they ring hollow and give me no comfort.

Have you ever heard Christians say, “Jesus was so real to me!” after an especially emotional worship service? (The woman on TV with the big pink hair likes to say this, too.) It’s always sounded to me like they were trying really, really hard to convince themselves of this unseen Jesus’ “realness”.

I remember one evening, just days after I had come out to my parents, when the grief and pain that I was feeling from their reaction overwhelmed me, and I ended up sobbing in my friend Todd’s car. And he didn’t say much, but he was there and let me get out what I was holding in.

I remember lying in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery, and looking forward to visits from my friend Jim. We didn’t talk about much that was profoundly spiritual, but his presence was certainly a comfort to me.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been comforted, encouraged, and held together by my partner, Dave. He helps my soul relax.

I remember when my car was vandalized, and my briefcase stolen. It shook me up a bit, but praying with my pastor and another friend calmed me down and helped me see the incident in perspective.

See the difference? I’ve encountered plenty of people who can parrot the “trust Jesus!” line — but in the examples above, Jesus was actually present. He did his work through my friends, pastor, partner — all of those people who have taken Jesus’ words to heart. I think that’s how Jesus does his stuff these days, and it’s probably the only way we’ll experience Jesus’ “realness”.

If you — and I — are not being Jesus, then there is no Jesus in the room.

That’s quite a responsibility — and I know I fail miserably, lots of times.

  • When I’m rude to a waiter, because the service isn’t as perfect as I’d like, where is Jesus?
  • When I’m driving like the road belongs to me and, by God, everyone else had better not slow me down, where is Jesus?
  • When I shut my office door, so I don’t have to interact with that coworker I really can’t stand, where is Jesus?
  • When I live with blinders on, oblivious to pain and poverty around me, where is Jesus?

It works the other way, too. When I’m hurting, my first reaction is to shut everyone else out. I have to maintain that strong, self-sufficient facade, after all. And when I keep it all in rather than letting a brother or sister help — have I shut out Jesus?

It’s an awesome thought — we have both the ability and the responsibility to be Jesus wherever we go. And we have the duty — and the privilege! — to see Jesus in the people around us.

Thought for the day: Jesus, help me to be aware of you today. Allow me to be you, today.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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