(Gentle reader, I doubt that you are overly sensitive to swearing. I use the words without bleeping them out because they are honest and real.)
In our home group gathering last Wednesday, we had two new people. One of them was an older, disheveled man in a wheelchair. My children were fascinated at him because he had lost his feet to diabetes. If you saw him on the street, you might assume he was homeless. He is actually a neighbor of one of our people whom we had been wondering how to reach out to. Not content with just “reaching out,” she brought him to the group.
At the end of the meeting, we broke into groups of three to pray for each other. Apparently his request was, “Pray that God would kill me.”
I talked with him afterwards. His mind didn’t seem to be all there, saying, “I don’t know how I got here. I don’t even know where my home is.” I told him not to worry, and asked him about his tattoos. He showed me how the names of some of his children were tattooed on his arm. His wife left him years ago, taking the kids, and he hadn’t seen them since. “I don’t blame them, I’m not angry with them,” he said, “but it still hurts. I wonder what they look like.”
I said something about how life is hard, but that God knows what it’s like because he’s been here and lived with us — he knows what you’re going through.
His response: “If I could see God, I would kill that fucker, I mean I would crucify him all over again. If you saw an animal caught in a trap, hurting, wouldn’t you set it free?”
All I could do was smile sadly, nod my head, and put my hand on his shoulder. I appreciated his honesty. Here is a guy who has had a terrible life. He showed me where he got his first tattoo to cover the scars he got from mainlining heroin, which he started at age 14.
But you know what? We shared communion that night (using a bagel and fruit punch). I gave instructions and watched as this guy received the elements and passed them on, saying, “The body of Christ, broken for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you.”
It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.