September 4 I Saturday
1 Corinthians 14:21-40
“Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” —Luke 10:37
Bill became a Christian while he was attending college. He was kind and esoteric in nature, had wild hair and was a brilliant student. His wardrobe during college consisted of T-shirts with holes in them, jeans and no shoes. Across the street from Bill’s college campus was a well-dressed, conservative church that wanted to develop a ministry for the students, but were unsure of how to go about it.
One day, dressed in his usual attire, sporting his wild hair, Bill decided to go to this church. The service had already begun, so he started down the aisle, looking for a seat, but the church was full. No one shifted over to make room for him, and his presence was making the congregation feel a bit uncomfortable. Bill got closer to the front and when he realized there were no seats available, he squatted down on the carpet. Although perfectly acceptable behaviour at a college fellowship, it was a shocking first for this church.
The tension was already thick in the air when the minister noticed a deacon at the back of the church slowly making his way towards Bill. The deacon was in his eighties; silver hair, three-piece suit, courtly and dignified. He walked cautiously with his cane and as he made his way to this young man, people were thinking they could not blame the deacon for what he was about to do. How could one expect a man of his age and background to understand a wild-looking college kid plopped on the floor? It took some time for the deacon to reach Bill, and except for the clicking of his cane, the church had gone silent. The minister had stopped talking. All eyes were on the deacon.
When the deacon reached Bill, he dropped his cane to the floor and with great difficultly, lowered himself, sat down beside Bill and worshipped with him, so he did not feel alone. Everyone, choked with emotion, listened to the minister as he gained control and said, “What I am going to preach today you will never remember, but what you have just seen you will never forget.”
This was a story I received by email a couple years ago. Where many would have unfairly judged Bill, the deacon’s act reflected the love and compassion that Jesus showed to outcasts and sinners. Jesus’s words at the end of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise,” are fitting here too. As new creations indwelt by Christ, may we be awakened to the love of God within us so we can do the same.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the everyday examples of people who let love overrule hate and prejudice, and that You are at work to produce this same love within me. In Your holy name.