Pastor's Blog

The People You Meet

We gladly make time for people like Nicodemus, a prominent person. When the opportunity comes to eat with the powerful we take it. Jesus ate with them. Rich people need Jesus, too.

Jesus saw people most of us don’t see. While at a hotel do we “see” the people who clean our rooms? Do we “see” the cooks and servers who make our special holiday meals happen?

Do we “see” the strain on the face of the single Mom grocery shopping with kids in tow? The red-eyed daughter leading her elderly, distracted father through the ordeal of a check-up?  Do we “see” the people whose social awkwardness make us flinch with inner discomfort? If we “see,” do we look away?

Jesus saw the funeral parade of Luke 7.11-17. Rituals for the dead in our time focus on the funeral ceremony. The location. Who speaks? What music? Any special remembrances?

In Jesus’s day emphasis was on the funeral procession. How loud the wailing? How many men held the bier above their shoulders as throngs of mourners swirled about them? How many singers? What dirges? Dust was thrown in the air. Sometimes men tore their shirts as a demonstration of overwhelming grief.

In this surging stream of sorrow Jesus saw one woman: the dead man’s mother. He had been her only son. Her social safety net was covered by a burial cloth. Jesus saw … her. Stopping the noisy parade (shocking!), He  touched the unclean bier and raised the son back to life.  “Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

Let’s say you’re a disciple walking with Jesus on that day. Would you have seen the mother? How would you have responded?

Walking with Jesus presses us to see people often overlooked.  Walking with Jesus presses us to enter their pain and, perhaps, provide hope and relief.  What a glorious challenge! What a glorious Master to follow.


Posted by Tim Alexander with

Who do I see on the trail?

Polly and I went to Ontario County Park to walk some trails. It was our first time and we found the trail guide confusing.

He was a grandfather walking with two children, perhaps ages 9 and 11. He was over six feet tall, a shine of white stubble circled his head, sloped shoulders rolling under a faded shirt, baggy shorts and saggy legs. He had a welcoming grin. He moved slowly, as if walking from the kitchen to the living room.

"Excuse me, but are you familiar with this park? We are looking for the 'Jumping Off Point.'"

"We are going there. I'll show you." I thought, "Great!" ... initially.

Grandfather gave us a history of Ontario County, South Bristol, Naples and grape pies. When the young ones distracted him we were delivered from his kindness. Polly said, "Now you know how your children feel when they ask you a question."

Ha ha ha.

Polly was right and her gentle humor exposed me. I would've been grateful for one decisive pointed finger. I wasn't interested in all the land along Route 64. Grandfather, I felt, had wasted my time. I bristle when someone wastes my time. Or, at least, when I think someone wastes my time.  

I am probably not the most discerning judge about wasting time. Grandfather was kind. He was taking his grandchildren for a walk. They seemed to enjoy the man. Why couldn't I?

There are too many answers for a single blog post. But the main reason is that I did not see the man. I saw a dispenser of information God had put on that trail that day for me. Did I even see a person? In my impatience, probably not.

I need to see a person as a person. I need to see a person before I jump to seeing them for what they can do for me. I need to see less of me and more of others. God help me, but I've got a long way to go on this particular trail.

Posted by Tim Alexander with