Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Met With Jesus A While Today . . .

Mary Gaye and I didn't head off from Church too quickly today for lunch.  We lingered a good while, an hour or
hour and a half after service had ended.

We went into the Sanctuary to close up and I saw a tall, young man about 6' 4" come in the large foyer, dressed
in all black , cutoffs, black toboggan and tattoos on his face.  His appearance was ominous-looking. 

I ran to the back to greet him and with head bowed he said 'I need some place to stay tonight.  I'm homeless.'
Usually when someone has learned to work benevolence systems, they will have a prepared a line and some
story that too often are cover ups rather than genuine needs.  Sorry, that's just what has happened over the years.

Mike, that's his name, was different.  No lines.  No stories.  Just, 'I need some place to stay tonight.  I'm homeless. '

I brought him into the office, telling him we will find something for him.  He wasn't talkative at all.  I knew the police
would come and give him a ride to a shelter since it was so cold but didn't want to treat him that way.  I found a
place for him and got it arranged. 

While making the calls, I began to talk to gather a sense of Mike's plight .  The last person who really seemed to
care about him had died about a year earlier - his Dad.  He told me how it happened - a heart attack in front of
him.  He told me that he didn't do drugs or alcohol (and I believe that) but did battle depression.  I tried to tell him
that it would get better but there was simply no framework in his mind or emotions to believe.

I called Palos Police and not being sure whether they would be able to help or not, Mary Gaye and I ordered a
taxi for him from Jesse Ryan's 5-Star Taxi and paid for it.  The police officer got out and instead of reacting to
his appearance, he told Mike how much he like his tattoos.  I could have cried.  Mike was actually being treated
with dignity since the time he stepped on our property and this outstanding Palos Police Officer did more of the
same and treated him with such dignity and concern.  I was blown away and touched deeply by the officer's
humanity.

Mike came back inside to wait and I got him a seat and Mary Gaye and I listened to more of his story.  Mike said
that people don't like to talk to him because of the tattoos on his face.  We told him they didn't matter to us and that
we kind of liked them.  Mary Gaye is a very classy Lady and I am so, so proud of the love, care, concern and
patience she showed Mike, not being taken aback by his appearance, etc., but reached out to say she really cared. 

We were both moved as we heard his story. I told Him that He was important and mattered and that I would take as
much time with him to try to show him that he mattered to us and to God.  I asked Him what He thought God thought
of him and he said that he didn't think God thought much of Him, someone who had not been in Church since a child.

I assured Mike that if Jesus was walking in the flesh today that He definitely wouldn't be visiting any of our Churches
but would be hanging out (according to what the Bible says) at the bar, homeless shelters and similar hangouts and
would enjoy hanging with him.  He couldn't believe it.  I told him that Jesus gets disgusted at our Churches haughty,
snotty self-righteousness that tried to tell people that some are better or more important than others.  I told Mike that
I had preached to a house full of people earlier today but that the time I was spending with Him was equally important
to God and to me.

I gave Mike my cell number and asked him to promise to call me and give me an update.  My hopes are that he will
contact me and that maybe I can love Jesus more by helping Mike.  Remember, Jesus said that in as much as you
do it unto the least of these (and Mike is no wise least in my sight), you did it unto Me.

God bless the Palos Police Officer that responded and treated Mike with such dignity.  As the Bible says, they
really are 'servants of God.' 
Pray for Mike.

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