Sunday, January 17, 2010

When Jesus Comes through the Line

The scenes, the voices and the dead bodies in Haiti have touched us all. With sorrow so deep and so all-encompassing there is not much to say. The low estimate is that 100,000 have lost their lives-- many buried under debris and will never be found. And then all those others who suffer and cry out in pain for themselves and for their lost loved ones.

I think a Jim Wallis story is appropriate. Twenty blocks from the White House the door of the Sojourners Neighborhood Center open early for the Friday morning food line. About 300 families regularly are fed. Just before the doors open, the volunteers all join hands for prayer. Wallis said that most of those volunteers come from the food line themselves. That particular morning Mary Glover, a seventy year old African-American women offered the prayer. She prayed; “Thank you, Lord, for waking me up this morning. Thank you that the walls of my room where not the walls of my grave.” And then she added: “Lord, we know that you’ll be coming through this line today, so help us to treat you well.”

I thought about that story when I watch the pain and pathos in Haiti. Most of the people there have known nothing but poverty and hunger and fear and pain all their lives. And now this. We can’t turn away, you and me, we can’t turn away. Jesus is standing before us in the faces of those in Haiti. Let’s pray and then put legs on our prayers and send money to whatever organization that you feel comfortable with.

That old prayer-poem by Langston Hughes seems an appropriate way to close.

At de feet o’ Jesus
Sorrow like a sea.
Lordy, let yo’ mercy
Come driftin’ down on me.

At de feet o’ Jesus,
At you’ feet I stand.
O, ma precious Jesus,
Please reach at you’ hand.”
          --Langston Hughes

(The above photo was taken in Barcelona, Spain just as you enter the beautiful church, La Sagrada Familia. Note how as pilgrims have passed this plaque they have touch the name of Jesus until it shines like gold.) 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Roger. For some reason those lines of people hundreds deep waiting for a couple of bottles of water and a power bar have touched me profoundly. A few hours later, aren't they hungry and thirsty again? "The line forms at the rear." My refrigerator and pantry is full. All I have to do is walk a few steps to help myself. There's never a line. I pray that I never, ever take that for granted.