Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."
~ Luke 15:1 - 2
Years ago I became friends with Rev. Lew Wiggs. A Baptist minister who while undergoing treatment for cancer, which was thought to be terminal at the time, was asked to visit patients that were dying from a "mysterious" disease effecting primarily gay men in Houston.
His doctor knew that he was clergy and thought that since Lew was going to "die anyway," visiting these patients with this unknown disease that was killing them, wouldn't make a difference in the outcome of his illness.
Lew began this new chapter in his ministry, spending time reconciling family members with their gay children, or simply sat and held their hands as they died.
Of course, Lew was telling me of this chapter in his life twenty years later while serving as the Director of the Bay Area AID's Alliance. Lew lived beyond his cancer diagnosis, and actually lived beyond the cancer doctor who had diagnosed him.
He would share that being with those who were "outcasts," taught him more about his faith than those who sat each Sunday in the pew in the church he served.
He reminded me that it is, "not the well who need a physician," but those, "who are ill."
Of course it would be tax collectors and sinners that Jesus would spend time with, and of course, those who were watching Jesus each day would have to comment about his ministry.
The example of Christ can be challenging in a society where it seems that people are watching. Each day we encounter today's Samaritans, tax collectors and sinners, even when the person is us! Being able to journey with others means that sometimes we will be asked to meet them along roads that we have yet to travel.
Our challenge is to see one another as siblings and children of the same God, deserving of the same love and grace. Each day we are challenged to see the world with these eyes, and to be the living instruments of Christ in a world that needs us to be present for one another.
Who is it that you are being asked to journey with today?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.