This letter was received from a young man I just call, “Chas,” who played Jesus Loves Me perfectly for me on his birthday. He has been parented by two of our greatest warriors, and the best is yet to come. Just like we leave the best to be defined by God, we also leave the answer to this little angel’s question to the imagination of the millenniums. Many claim to have seen Yeshua El Nazaree (Jesus of Nazareth), and accounts about Him vary regarding what He looked like when He was here on earth.
There is a story about how St. Francis of Assisi forsook everything to be God’s and yet remained sleepless for weeks. In outrage, he prayed for sleep and asked God what he had left undone. Supposedly, God answered him that until he found a leper and kissed him, he would never really see Christ or know Him. Then, he had a vision that God would stop the rain and bells would ring, which he should follow the next morning.
The following day, his companion, Leo, witnessed as St. Francis would take no other roads than those that led to the bells. When he came to a leper shaking a staff of bells to warn others to stay away, with the leper’s nose and fingers gone and ooze coming from his lips, St. Francis embraced him, kissed him, wrapped the leper in his robe and carried him toward the city. Bro. Leo’s testimony is that when they arrived, light was all around St. Francis and his facial hair gone from the conflagration. Leo suggested perhaps lightening from the storm had struck Francis. Weeping for joy, St. Francis said, “All lepers, crippled sinners, if you kiss them become Christ.” St. Francis legacy cannot be denied, and this story is neither confirmed nor denied by Citizen Amato.
Many ministries are now focusing on doing social works, which our mother ship, RAM, and our house church movement, Grace Place, have recognized for years as critical for “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
To the right is a photo of a man in West Palm Beach left to die in the hot sun. As my wife found food and water, which he couldn’t eat or drink, I told him of a place where there is no sickness, sorrow, suffering or pain. I shared with him that somehow by the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood all of us are forgiven everything, past, present and future, and Christ rose from the dead to prove His blood, handed down through the Jewish faith, was more important than food or water. Gladly receiving the message, for the first and only time, I saw a twinkle in his eye as I told him, “By the blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection power and authority, your sins are forgiven you.” Soon the authorities arrived and took him away. Rick with dying man
is there someone in your life in great need? Someone from whom others would flee? To me, that person is Christ, and the message to many of my pastor friends, who are focusing on meeting human needs, is to remember as we do to make the main thing the main thing – Jesus and Him crucified, the shed blood of the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world. This is Jesus Christ. He is not only the homeless man on the ground but in the cities where we build roads, an orphanage or a church building. Without the gospel, we forget who we really are.
Absolutely, we do good works in His name, and like St. Francis of Assisi, embrace the sick and suffering that no one else wants to be near. We must see that we, too, are Christ coming to Christ and if we bear not the good news and prioritize sharing it as our primary purpose, soon we will experience in Christendom further division and ultimately, dissolution, its daughter.
This clarion call is to see that every leper is Christ, every outcast is Him, and to run enthusiastically to them to love them passionately. Then, we, too, are Christs, bearing witness that the nail holes in His body and the open wound in His side through the Resurrection provided the Holy Spirit so that each one can reach one. As for Chas’ letter, someday, the blessed hope is that during a time of the beginnings of nuclear war, Jesus Christ will return, save all Israel and set up a new government on earth that will last for 1,000 years. Until then, we are Him. Just one look in the mirror reassuring yourself that you are deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally forgiven and completely accepted through the blood of His cross, and out of gratitude changing to become more like Him each day, taking His gospel, especially to the outcasts, is what makes us “the called out ones” – the church not of this world calling others to leave it, also. Until then, HE is everywhere.