Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
~ John 8:12
I just left the home of a patient who is gently finding her way to heaven. When I walked into the home, I dialed for a translator who would help me with my conversation, because English was not spoken in the home.
As I introduced myself and was welcomed by the family into their home, I noticed that the only lamp in the home was near the patient's bed, and it illuminated a picture of Jesus on the wall. Of course the face was in the image of the family who had immigrated to the United States, and their matriarch, who had brought them through so many hills and valleys was now laying in a bed next to the picture, and is dying. I did not need clarification of who the man is in the picture.
His eyes were looking directly at those who looked at the image. His hands, pierced, extending outward, to embrace and to hold us.
The single lamp. A single Savior who loves us all.
In a world that seems to focus on the differences that we drag into the light each day, in this home and experience I am reminded that the light of Christ shines bright for each of us.
As I began to pray, inviting the family to gather with me, exhausted from keeping watch at bedside all night long, I listened as the translator took the words I spoke, and filled the room with words that would speak to those I was with.
I am humbled at times to think that what I am sharing can be shared in a way that even those who look different than me, who have journeyed in ways that I could never begin to imagine, can join hands with me, and share in thanksgiving to the same Savior that I also proclaim as my own.
It is both humbling and reasssuring. It is a glimpse of what the true kingdom of God actually looks like. Without differences. Illuminated by One light!
The family hugged me as I finished my prayer, and offered me a cookie. Their way of practicing hospitality to someone who is no longer a stranger, but a brother in the family of God.
I began to tear up and I thanked them for their generosity of kindness. The translator still on the line, also thanking both of us that he was welcomed into this moment, and both the family and I thanking him for his gift of translation.
As I prepared to leave, I took one more look back, realizing the the only lamp in the home was serving as the one light, but reminding all who entered of the One light that loves us all.
Stay on God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.