When my son was touring with a Christian-based teen theater company, one of the sketches they would do was based on the song, "If We Are The Body". As people were coming in before the church service, he would enter in looking like some sort of homeless thug. Despite his appearance, he would quietly and "shyly" enter the sanctuary. I think that is an important point to bring up because although he looked very rough, his mannerisms at all times were very courteous. I bring that up because what I am about to say next would be more excusable if his behavior itself had been threatening.
Sometimes, I was in the audience as I was a parent volunteer for the company. As his mother and as a Christian, it was heartbreaking to see that for the most part, people in the congregation took great pains to first avoid him and then ignore him. This has made a lasting impression on my son and he would have believed all Christians were hypocrites but for the actions of a few.
I was present one Sunday when something happened which my son has never forgotten. He moved through the congregation, looking for a place to sit. The church was nearly full. He hesitated next to row where a man sat next to his wife and daughters. The man rose and extended his hand toward Daniel. He welcomed him to church and made room for Daniel to sit down. I couldn't hear what was being said, but it appeared that the man was introducing himself and his family. Prior to the service beginning, it was evident that there was some conversation being made.
The service began. The director of the theater company was introduced. A sketch or two was presented. Then, as the music came up, to the amazement of the people around him, Daniel stood up and started to act out the song. Suddenly the people around him realized that Daniel was not who he appeared to be... he was an actor.
Did you know that the word hypocrite, like the word hypocrisy comes from the Greek word hypokrisis? Hypokrites (hypocrite) is the form of the word was a term applied to an actor who was playing a role on stage. Eventually, it was applied to anyone who was not what they seemed to be. They were a play actor .
After the performance, the man approached my son. He had a confession to make. All had not been as it had seemed. When my son had stood beside him earlier, the man's instinct had been to ignore my son. That's not surprising when you think about it. What father would have naturally wanted a young man like that sitting by his daughters? This man, however, was not ruled by his natural man, however! Against all of his instincts, he not only made my son feel welcome, he made him feel like he was accepted and cared for.
After hearing the confession, my son smiled and said, "That's understandable but the point is, you didn't allow those feelings to dictate what you did. You did what Christ would do." Isn't this the very thing we are supposed to do? Be the hands and feet of Christ in this world? Are we?
What a wonderful message, K! "If you have done this for the least of these..."
Later today, I'll be writing about being the "hands and feet" from a different perspective... the work of our recent mission trips to Ghana and the Dominican Republic. In each case, we could have just sent a substantial check... instead... we went in person. GOING into the world... not SENDING, but GOING... makes all the difference.
Beautiful blog K, Im sitting on the verge of tears all day today... this has probably pushed me over the edge
I enjoyed reading about your son. It is true, we are sometimes more of a country club than a church. I will remember this story.