As we walked the dusty roads going from house to house a crowd gathered behind us. I wondered if this is what it was like for Jesus? I wondered what he must of been thinking. The crowds, the curiosity, and the following.
Maybe they knew they were following the Messiah and maybe not. Did our crowd know they were following American missionaries? I do not know. Maybe some were just curious, or even just looking for a handouts of candy and religious items. Whatever the reason they followed, and the reason doesn’t really matter. In that moment they were divinely invited to follow and they said yes.
The roads were dusty, uneven, and never ending, but the Church lady knew where to go. She took us to all the homebound. To visit those who are unable to make it to mass to receive communion. The body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord. The body of Christ giving the body of Christ to the body of Christ in the middle of the desert. That’s grace.
We saw joy, oh the joy of two in particular. An elderly women who sits and prays all day for the village. A wise old woman full of gray hair which is rather rare in these parts. What an important role she holds in kingdom life in that little village! Such an honour, she glowed with joy.
Then there was a young man who looked like had had cerebral palsy or maybe even afflicted with Polio (no vaccines here). Such a happy man. He had a spot in which he sat all day in his wheelchair sitting outside his home watching all the comings and goings of everyone. Meeting them all with a smile. He was like Jesus on the curb when we arrived.
There was despair and one doesn’t have to look very far to see despair and sadness, but that’s also true back home. One women broke her ankle two years ago and never received care. I kid you not, it was as big as a baby elephants foot! I will not forget that sight for I have no idea how she gets from the bed to a chair and back again. Together, we laid hands on her and prayed for healing. I do not know if her ankle was healed that day, but I know there was healing in her heart.
We saw a couple who used to run a small restaurant who are both now blind or partially blind due to cataracts. We laid hands on them too in hopes Jesus would heal.
In each house there was so much need I wondered if this too is what Jesus saw? The physical needs were obvious to the naked eye, but the emotional and spiritual needs that reside in the heart and soul require you look into the eyes of their soul and not fear what you see or feel. For in that moment what matters most is that they see Jesus in you and you see Jesus in them. You give His mercy and his compassion and they encounter the risen Christ.
Compassion, to suffer with another, not always an easy task and yet a necessary one in the building of the kingdom. However, one does not need to go to the desert to have compassion for another as there are needs everywhere you look. The world is a place of broken hearts in search of beauty and true love. Bring the good, the true, and the beautiful to another today in the person of Jesus.
Take a moment and pay attention to where you are being divinely invited. It maybe the person right in front of you who needs mercy and compassion. Who is God asking you to suffer with today?