Wednesday, January 21, 2009

modern-day lepor.

It seemed a bit misfit for a Christmas Eve sermon; talking about lepors & their strange deformities with images of sweet baby Jesus & shining angels dressed in white embedded in my thoughts. And perhaps it was a bit misfit for Christmas Eve—but it was true…starkly, glaringly, effortlessly TRUE.

After all, the subject of the sermon was lepors—the greatest of all misfits in that Jewish vs. Gentile society. Cast aside. Covered in black spots, sometimes found with missing ears or hairs or digits. Accusatory glances from passerby, mothers bringing their children in closer, old men huddling against a stone-cold buildings while they passed—all part of the daily rhythm of seeing sunlight, finding food, & seeking JESUS.

Leprosy is still around, you know. Even in the United States. But there are drugs for it now. And treatment facilities. And incubation rooms. And other options. While it still exists & plagues many around the world, it’s a rarity these days to see a digit-less person missing patches of hair & half an ear frequenting the street corners. And while its bacteria still is isolated, grown, and treated in controlled facilities, there is another brand of misfits being bred at an alarmingly high rate…

Do you even know what she has??!

I heard the nurses whispering.

I can’t believe he is taking that risk—I don’t think I’d do it.

They were hushed, obviously trying to avert my intent listening ears.

Yeah, the one with the yellow scrub top said, he is one of the only ones in town that takes such dangerous cases….I just hope I don’t have to stick her.

And then they dispersed. Busying themselves with clipboards & pill cups & ice chips.

I walked over to the metal cart that held the aqua colored charts. My finger moved over the labels until I came to the thick binder bearing the patients name in question. I glanced at the red tab labeled “LABS” and flipped it open, like I’ve done a thousand times this year.



My initial thought mirrored that of the nurses—I just hope I don’t have to stick her…or examine her…or assist in her c-section. But then I caught my breath…

Accusatory glances from passerby, mothers bringing their children in closer, old men huddling against a stone-cold buildling while they passed….two pairs of layered latex-free sterile gloves, hesitation at that needle stick, tension-filled silence in the operating room (OR) when the first incision is made….

What if God used two layers of gloves when he worked on my heart? What if heaven went quiet when I prayed—waiting in silent tension to see if the grimy contagiousness of my sin would spread & infect even the most holy of holy's? What if sterile masks & extra paper gowns & special shoe covers were used when God deals with my dirt?

When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. –Matthew 8:1-3

Am I willing? Am I willing to be touched by God? To be healed by the hand—the naked, gloveless, scarred hand of Jesus? Am I willing to be outcast because of my infections? To be segregated because of my stubbornness? Will passer-by huddle in corners & turn their faces from me because of the grimy layers of humanity evident on my freshly made-up face & name-brand clothes?

Perhaps more importantly, am I willing to go under the knife—to kneel down before my Lord and ask for the Ultimate Healing once again? For the ump-teenth time since I last saw him…for the billionth sin I’ve commited...

And will He heal me yet again?

Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done. –Matthew 8:4

1 comment:

joyfuliving said...

wow, that was an amazing post j'. i could feel your heart oozing out of each word, clearly seeing Jesus shining like a beacon.

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