Readings: Psalm 80:1-7; Isaiah 42:10-18; Hebrews 10:32-39
But you recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. Hebrews 10: 32-33 NRSV
Friends of mine spent some days traveling Scotland by train. On a three hour stop in a small town, a grubby, smelly, homeless man greeted them. After a few minutes of conversation, my friends took the man to lunch with them at a local pub. For the hour they spent with him, they were very aware of the stares and the shaking heads – and of the pungent disruption they were causing at the restaurant. When they were done with lunch and back at the train station, the man held out his hand in thanks; reluctantly, they shook it, then boarded their train, glad to be on their way.
A gentleman who’d seen their leave-taking came over once the train left the station. “How did it feel to shake the hand of Jesus?” he asked.
For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your own possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. Hebrews 10:34-35 NRSV
Ten years ago, floodlights and sirens disturbed a snowy February night. A friend’s house, just a few hundred feet away from my own, went up in flames. Everything they owned went with it. A few days after the blaze, my friend remarked, “I thought I’d miss my things a lot more than I do. There’s a wonderful freedom to it. I hope I don’t forget this when the house is restored.”
The company we keep can give us a glimpse of God, if we keep our eyes open.
The possessions we lose can give us a glimpse of eternal happiness, if we keep our hearts open.
Simple Gifts, Liz Story, recorded at Prescott, AZ: Luna Recording Studio, 1996 The Carols of Christmas: A Windham Hill Collection, Windham Hill Records, 1996