Show Me Jesus by my wife and guest blogger Candace Landry.
This past Sunday, Pastor Steve Conger challenged Meridian Street United Methodist Church to ponder how we would respond if a new person were to come into the church and say, “Show me Jesus.”
It just so happened that this was the first Sunday I put Zechariah in the nursery during worship. I don’t know if it was the gravity of his words or the fact that for the first time in months I wasn’t wrangling an infant while trying to pay attention in worship, but I can’t seem to shake these words from my mind. In light of all of the violence in our world and negative rhetoric filling our news feeds, what could be more important? Show me Jesus.
Since I spend most of my days (and nights) with an adorable 7 month old, I’ve been thinking, how will I show Jesus to Zechariah? Will I show him a building in which to worship? Will I teach him the stories and parables of faith? I do want him to find Jesus in these things. I want him to experience Jesus in the breaking of the bread, in the pouring of the cup, in the gathering of the Body of Christ. I also want him to find Jesus in people, ordinary people, unexpected people.
I want to show him Jesus in the homeless man who struggles to find his place in the orderly classifications that we white middle class people think everyone should fit in. I want to show him Jesus in the grocery clerk or custodian who in some people’s opinion does only a simple job, but does it with faithfulness and joy. I want to show him Jesus in the immigrant who leaves the only land they’ve ever known in order to work a job in which they are paid hardly anything so that they might provide food and a better life for their family. I want to show him Jesus in the person who joins in the struggle for justice and equality even though the road is long and full of challenges. I want to show him Jesus in the healthcare worker who tenderly cares for the sick or aging with grace and patience. I want to show him Jesus in the vastness on creation, in the wonder of the stars, in the heights of the mountains, in the depths of the sea.
I do hope to show Zechariah Jesus in all of these ways, but mostly, and especially right now, I want to show him the wonder of Jesus by being a mom who puts down her phone and picks up a book or sings a silly song to use her imagination. I want to show him the comfort of Jesus by wrapping my arms around him and rocking him to sleep. I want to show him the forgiveness of Jesus through the forgiveness Matt and I offer each other when we are cranky after a series of sleepless nights. I want to show him the love of Jesus by doing the small ordinary tasks of life, changing diapers, cutting up bananas, washing dishes, paying bills, with great joy and love.
Many days in my life right now can feel like Groundhog Day. I know with some certainty how the day will go. Wake. feed. change. eat. play. clean. feed. nap. play. eat. change. feed. sleep. repeat. In some ways I’ve never felt so tied down. My schedule is not my own. (Have you ever tried to go out to lunch, or anywhere for that matter, with a 7 month old? It requires luggage.) But in other ways I have never been more free. My purpose is clear. Show Zechariah Jesus. In my own life. In the lives of others. In the beauty of creation. In the way we order our lives. Show him Jesus in the unexpected and the ordinary.
What about you? Who needs to be shown Jesus? How will you show them?
May we seek Jesus by living differently, slowly, and intentionally. May we seek Jesus by taking time to look into the eyes of our neighbors. May we seek Jesus by being kind to everyone we encounter. May we find Jesus in the ordinary that our lives may become extraordinary.