Friday, May 17, 2013

Putting on skin

Last night my wife and I walked to a birthday party. About thirty of our friends gathered around a long table full of food and balloons celebrating, Mary’s birthday. She’d never had a birthday party and she just turned seventy-six years young.

Three fire-fighters were present, but still, we only used two candles to top the cake; one shaped like a seven and the other a six.

Our resident baker Sal, made a cake she called, Mounds Cake. It was the best cake I’d ever tasted in my life, evidenced by the strange sounds I made after every bite. And the best part of the party was when they asked if I’d take the remaining portion of that awesome cake home. Seriously. I had some for breakfast, lunch and I’m thinking I ought to sneak into the kitchen right now and see if there’s any left.

It wasn’t even my birthday, but I got the greatest gift—and it wasn’t the cake, either. It was at the start of the party, when they asked me to pray. I was honored and told them so.

This wasn’t a church party. It was just a bunch of folks from our neighborhood. And still, they asked if I’d open in prayer. And then, multiple people thanked me. They. Thanked. Me. It should be the other way around I said, and I thanked them for letting me.

But, it got me to thinking. I’m possibly the least likely to be asked to pray as far as physical attributes go. Number one: I don’t have a loud voice, and in Florida that’s kind of important with all the hearing aid wearing folk. Number two: I’m not real outgoing in crowds. One on one I’m fine, but I’m out of my element in crowds.

So the hardest part about saying a prayer in front of a bunch of people isn’t the actual praying part. That’s easy because I’m just talking one to One. The hardest part is getting everyone’s attention so they’ll quiet down for our prayer. Usually someone else handles that; someone who likes to yell, “Hey ya’ll shut-up so we can pray and eat!”

They smile and nod and we bow our heads and do the greatest thing I know to do. Talk to the One who makes all the difference.

It happens often. Folks will ask me to pray. They never ask me to sing—good thing. They rarely ask me to preach. But pray, that happens quite a bit. Why? I’m not sure, and maybe it’s not for me to say. But, I’m thinking to myself that perhaps it’s how Jesus shows up, in a certain way.

A long time ago Jesus put on skin to become the answer. The Bible says He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. So, the way I figure it—He’s still putting on skin. Not the same body that died on Calvary’s tree. Today the skin He uses is you and me. He shows up and prays through one, and He shows up and sings through another.

Maybe for those who allow, He puts on their skin. He’ll show up wearing a fireman’s uniform when you’re in the midst of the flame. Or He’ll stand by you in the operating room, wearing a doctor’s mask.

Maybe He serves your lunch at that cafĂ©, or changes the oil in your car at the service station. Perhaps you pass Him on your way to work as He stands with that sign on the side of the road. And maybe, just maybe—He stares back at you when you look in the mirror.

After all, aren't we called the body of Christ?

I’d like to think that folks ask me to pray because they hear His voice, not mine.

For some, you may be the only Jesus they’ll ever see. Go—be Jesus today. Let Him put on your skin.

~Thanks for stopping by,

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