by Rev. Cynthia Williams Insko
Children's Minister, First Baptist Church of Frankfort
“When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
— Matthew 25:38-40
Back in 1994, I received an invitation that changed my life. I was serving as campus minister in a city that housed a cutting-edge research clinic for the treatment of AIDS. The clinic chaplains asked me to lead in the formation of an AIDS Care Team. I was to enlist students, faculty, and staff to form a circle of support and friendship for a woman in our community who was living with HIV.
We soon met the woman and her daughter, and a lasting friendship began. I hope that our Care Team was the presence of Christ to our friend. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes we butted heads with one another and with her. Sometimes we had different ideas about how to solve problems. We weren’t always sure we were being what our friend needed us to be. I was certainly out of my comfort zone.
Nonetheless, we gave rides to doctor appointments, sat for long hours in emergency rooms, delivered meals, celebrated birthdays, and enrolled our friend’s daughter in a dance class and flute lessons. While I fully expected us to be Christ-like to our friend, I didn’t anticipate how often I would see Jesus in her. During our drives through our segregated city, lunches in her favorite dives, and stories of her childhood during the Civil Rights movement, we built our friendship. I began to see what life was like for her. I was a guest in her world, and with humor, honesty, and hope, she served as my gracious host.
I’ve heard it said that if we truly want to follow Jesus, we should intentionally and frequently put ourselves in the position of guest, for then we will meet Jesus in our Host.
“When did we see you?” the sheep ask the King in Matthew 25. “Whenever you did it for one of the least of these, you did it to me,” answered the King.
This post originally appeared on Smyth & Helwys' Next Sunday Resources blog, Coracle.