Some reflections of mine about the scripture, about turning it inside out …
We were hungry and someone gave us food –
a mother’s oatmeal, a father’s barbecue,
pie from a woman down the street,
the Christmas cookie on a plate in some fellowship hall,
the first broth and jell-o out of intensive care.
We were hungry for knowledge and someone taught us –
English or math, or knitting or how to change a tire.
We were hungry for companionship
and someone took the time to sit with us,
to meet us for a coke at a fountain,
or a cup of coffee after an AA meeting,
or to phone, text, send a birthday card, tap an email.
We were hungry like Jesus and someone gave us food.
We were thirsty and someone poured us a drink –
cold water after an elementary school race,
hot chocolate after sledding,
that first beer, the first communion,
the warm cup of something we don’t remember
after we came in from burying a love.
We were thirsty for self-confidence and
someone praised us – not empty words, but the right ones
for a good, hard piece of work.
Someone picked us for a team or a leading role,
wrote a glowing reference,
or got mad at the boss who fired us.
We were thirsty like Jesus. Someone gave us a drink.
We were strangers and someone welcomed us –
to the new school, new job, new barracks,
new dormitory, new neighborhood.
We were strangers and someone welcomed us
to weight-watchers or gamblers anonymous,
or smiled at us in the unemployment line
or the emergency room.
We were strangers and someone taught us the language –
English or technical talk or how to fill out our taxes.
We were strangers and someone
invited us to lunch or church.
We were strangers like Jesus. Someone made us friends.
We were naked and someone gave us clothes.
Someone dressed us for the prom or the wedding.
Someone put a mortar board on our heads,
tied our shoe laces, tied our ties.
Someone found something beautiful for our child
in the consignment shop.
We were naked because we felt too tall or too short,
too fat or too covered with acne,
too humiliated with a bad permanent,
or the not-growing of a beard …
we were naked with anorexia and someone saw who we were.
We were naked from some failure and someone
didn’t pretend and didn’t patronize and didn’t care.
We were naked like Jesus and someone clothed us.
We were sick and someone visited us –
at the hospital or our home,
in the rehab or the mental health facility.
We were sick and got chicken soup and advice
and silly cards and Charley Brown plants
and a fruit basket we gave the nurses.
We were sick and someone let us whine.
We didn’t get much better and someone didn’t mind the repetition.
We were sick of our marriage or our job;
we were sick of our self-expectations
and someone just listened.
We were sick like Jesus and someone visited us.
We were in jail and someone visited us.
Whether we were innocent or guilty.
Whether the bars were in the correctional facility
or in our heads.
We were in a jail of our memories, our anxieties,
our fears, our addictions,
and someone wasn’t afraid of pat down or lock down.
We were in jail and Jesus was our cell mate,
and someone visited us.
That’s all – just a parable.
It’s not really about do-gooders
at the end of the world.
It’s just remembering
when we were least and lonely and luckless and lost,
and someone treated us like Jesus,
and then it reminds us – we can do that, too.