This fall, I am studying Beth Moore's Jesus, The One and Only with a group of wonderful ladies. We are meditating scene-by-scene on Jesus' earthly ministry from the gospel of Luke and the current scene is Jesus casting out the demons from a very ill man and sending them into a herd of swine.
We are asked to picture the scene: the naked, raving man, his unwashed body, his home - a tomb, his wrists showing the wounds from breaking free of chains. The demons had taken every shred of his dignity and there was no help for him. Until Jesus.
Beth then asks us to think about any pronounced scenes of human indignity that we have ever witnessed. And it brought to mind a story that I had to write down lest I forget.
When we lived in the Netherlands, Andy and I decided to take a long weekend in Belgium. We enjoyed Brussels' beautiful antique buildings, cathedrals, fountains and tourist shops. We clogged up tiny shops with our double stroller, so while Andy was inside one bargaining for Belgian lace, I waited outside with baby Katelyn and two year old Adam. We people- watched. The streets were clogged; it was a holiday weekend, and most were walking and laughing in groups. But there was one solitary man across the street who was unwell. He looked homeless (dirty and uncared for) and he was gesturing and raving in French as he walked along. I didn't pay him much attention, he was part of the scene of humanity, and neither did anyone else. But Adam did. My little toddler tugged at my hand and said urgently, "Mommy, I want to go talk to that man!" "What man?" He pointed at the sick one, the lunatic one. I crouched down to listen to my son. "What do you want to talk to him about?"
His face was so sweet and compassionate. "I want to sing him my ABC's."
Adam, in his little soul, sensed that the man needed love. Adam wanted to help. He wanted to give him his most precious gift (the ABC's and spelling things were all-consuming for my precocious tot). His innocent worldview had no inner excuses for ignoring this man's need. I was astounded by his perceptiveness and my lack of love.
I wonder what would have happened had I allowed Adam to sing to the man. I will never know because I obeyed common sense. I had no desire to cause a scene on a city street in another country. I had lots of excuses and some of them were good ones. After all, I needed to protect my little guy from the hard things of the world...
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:17