Jesus will be here on Friday

“When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

We are having our 3rd annual New Year’s Day Jubilee Party on January 1st where we pick up some of our friends under the Steel Bridge in Portland and drive them back to our home to get a hot shower, wash some of their clothes, get a healthy meal, play some card games, watch some college football, or just take a nap.  Pray that our guests feel blessed and loved, not only by our attempts at serving them in humility, but by them seeing Jesus in us.

We checked out an audio recording of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the local library and listened to it in the car on our way to celebrate Christmas with some of our family.  To be honest, by the end of the story I was almost in tears, joyous tears!  If you don’t know the story, the Herdmans are a rough family.  They’re not really sure where their dad is, and their mom works two jobs so she doesn’t have to be around her children.  They cuss and smoke and burn down stuff.  They are dirt poor and only started coming to church because they heard they served cookies at Sunday school.  But then they decided to take part in the annual Christmas pageant, the boring run-of-the-mill Christmas story.  The one where the pew-sitters smile because Mary is so angelic and the choir of angels hit all the right notes and the kid playing the donkey does something cute and funny.  But the Herdmans, who had never heard the story, have a slightly different interpretation, one that is a little rough around the edges — which makes it so much better.  Actually, the audience ends up liking this version better.  Why?  Because it included the Herdmans, these imperfect people made the pageant perfection.  It would have been much easier putting together a play with the usual actors, but it is a lot more fun and a lot more interesting to include the rough kids.

This is what Jesus did, He invited the tax collectors and prostitutes to walk along side of Him, not the pharisees.  And this is what He calls us to do — include the marginalized, love the un-loveable, it’s usually a lot more fun, and you will be rewarded during the resurrection of the righteous.

I pray not only that these men and women see Jesus in us, but more so that we see Jesus in them.  The often quoted scripture on this blog, Matthew 25:40 “whatever you do for the least of these brothers (and sisters) of mine, you do for me” is the only true way we can serve these folks in a Christ-like way.  As Mother Teresa said,

“The yesterday is always today with God, therefore today in the world Jesus stands covered with our sins, in the distressing disguise of my Sister, my Brother.”

Can we see Him in the homeless man on the corner?  Can we see Him in our neighbor?  In our boss?  Until we do, we cannot truly love.  This Friday we are not serving homeless folks who live under a bridge in Portland, Oregon, we are serving our Redeemer, the Messiah, Immanuel — “God with us.”

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4 Responses

  1. Wish I could join you ‘n Jesus ‘n all your friends! He’ll be here too–with us! We had a beautiful Ethiopian here with us for Xmas–one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Very special. I have The Best Christmas Pageant Ever book–and it’s my second fave Xmas story! The movie was cute, too… Be blessed, you dear family. Love you!

  2. I forgot to check the little box below… ho ho ho.

  3. Thank you Andy for your heart for Jesus … looking forward to sitting in Christ’s presence tomorrow in your home. Love you all – The Mallon’s

  4. yes, I’d say He was definitely there!

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