Saturday, January 3, 2009

I met Christ again today; He suffers still

Downtown Nashville was teeming with people today along Second Street and Broadway as people from Maine to Kentucky to Indiana and Eastern Kentucky University women's basketball program were having one last take of holiday happenings and Music City merriment before returning home.

But Christ was not there.

He was on a much lonelier and deserted downtown street where hope seemed as absent as simply human kindness.

So I was blessed to come across our Lord, this time in the form a 6-2, slender black man who had just gotten out of jail and was homeless. He dared not go around all the people on Second and Broadway lest He be crucified again with their stares and frowns and police intent on rousting him.

Christ did not want to ask for help, but it he hurt so badly from the beating he had received from life that He was forced in a soft voice to ask me for a couple of dollars. I gave him 10. That still was not quite the seven-fold that His Father has chosen to restore me from my leukemia and the taking away of my job by The Tennessean.

Jesus could have then rushed off, like the homeless woman whom I gave $20 yesterday near WKRN. She needed help paying for bus fare back home.

But our savior needed to talk about his crucifixion -- not to solicit pity but to see if there was a way for him to be resurrected ... with a job. So we sat on a marble step, and I listened to the Gospels being relived before me.

I praised Jesus for his courage as He talked about losing his wife from a heart attack in October and the horrors of imprisonment. "Yes," He said, "I have made mistakes ... ."

But then I had the arrogance to cut our Lord off before He could say more.

"Lord," I told him, "You have paid the price for those choices. God has not forsaken you, and neither will I. I have not experienced your suffering, but I won't let you down. I will get you a job. I know a lot of people who also recognize and love you."

I gave Him my phone number, a hug and a promise to have a job for him by 10 a.m. tomorrow.

And I now have that job waiting for him -- with only one phone call.

Yes, I am an influential person with contacts and a lot of money of my own. I could employ my Lord and pay him full wages and benefits, but I have no house that he could work on or company that builds things.

But I have found hope for him, and tomorrow I'll take him to people who also believe in him. Maybe we'll get him some new clothes, a good meal and a safer place to stay. Then we'll start the journey with our Lord away from Calvary and toward his next resurrection.

That is how God's work must be done -- person by person -- particularly since those people represent Christ among us.

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