"You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
~ John 12:8
Have you ever had one of those days where so many things occurred that when you finally lay down to sleep at the end of the day your mind can't seem to rest? The whole time you keep thinking, "Did that really happen today?"
I have a sense that the night following Christ's entrance into the city, with the crowds welcoming him with shouts, that no one really slept well.
A lot was changing all at once. The intimate circle of friends was now filled with the lives of many. The group decides to stay with Lazarus and his sisters, like that is going to be a place of calmness? Jesus decides to stay at the epicenter of one of his greatest miracles, and you think that there will be rest there?
Jesus has a good idea that things are not going to be going well. Judas and he have a public disagreement over the use of oils that Mary uses to wash his feet, and the leaders of the community not only talk of arresting Jesus, but also plan to find a way to put Lazarus to death as well. Lazarus is telling others of his experience with Christ, so many people are leaving the faith of the land to now follow Jesus.
Nothing seems to be normal about any of this. It is all very chaotic for all involved.
We have these moments as well. Corporate environments no longer seem to be loyal to their employees for the sake of profits. Government leaders debate health care while children still go to bed hungry. Widows, orphans and strangers remain in the world, and the poor meet us on every highway exit intersection with signs reminding us that "anything will help."
We lay awake with these visuals fresh in our minds. This is Jesus' world then, and our world now. The need for a Savior and King was what the people were looking for, and it remains our focus today. While we wrestle to make sense of things, there is One who has experienced these things and still has a message of hope, love and peace.
As we awaken from our sleep, our minds turn to these things once again. Jesus reminds that they will be with us always. Not just the poor, but the struggles of life. His presence at that time was limited by time, but not now. The eternal purpose of Christ is for each of us, and Christ's presence is real. Christ's perseverance is life-giving, and life-changing.
Praying that as we remain in God's grip, that we recognize the Christ in one another and find hope and peace.
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear God, please, just hold me a little tighter when the problems of the world seem to be overwhelming. When things seem to be out of control. Remind me that You are still there. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.