The face of Christ

Yesterday I found myself in a small doctors office in the old part of Shawnee surrounded by many nameless faces. I found myself here because a friend of mine, who has been sick for a while now, decided she needed to see a doctor. Being that the insurance from her new job hasnt kicked in yet, she was referred to an inexpensive clinic that didnt require insurance. So here we are in a small clinic in Shawnee, surrounded by many who are less fortunate than us. Maybe it was just my mind, but i felt like we stuck out. I am not saying that either of us are wealthy by any means..in fact, if you asked her if she thought she was, this week she would just laugh. But my point is that we were, nonetheless, more fortunate than most of these people sitting in this clinic. The clinic was warm and musty, and the two ladies that were in the office before we arrived had been waiting for what seemed like hours before their loved ones came out of the back rooms. More people flooded into this little waiting room sick, tired, and uneasy. You could tell this clinic was for people just like them. Those that couldnt afford insurance in the first place, maybe never, and those who were not fortunate enough to have a good paying job. There were wall hangings that reminded me a lot of things I used to see missionaries show off while they were speaking in church. Wall hangings that had countries embroidered onto a 2′ by 3′ burlap cloth, with tassles hanging off the bottom. There were pictures of doctors caring for starving black children hung up on the wall behind us in the waiting room. The place was probably set up to be a mission for those who are less fortunate…those people who surrounded us in this waiting room.

As I sat there, I began to look around at these people. So unique, yet so alike. I wonder what their stories were? What were they sick with? Why did they choose to come to this clinic? We overheard a doctor talking about one of their patients who had sexually transmitted diseases from multiple partners. I wonder what that girl’s story is/was? Is she longing for intimacy? Longing for love? Longing for someone to just tell her that she is beautiful and that she matters.  Someone who will take away her loneliness and fear? Is she heartbroken or scared? Does she have a family that loves her? Is she a wanderer that no one knows about..going from one job to another…trying to find a decent place to live…but never establishing roots, or true relationships with anyone.

The whole time I just couldnt get Chris Rice’s song “Face of Christ” out of my head. It goes like this…

He shares a room outside with a dozen other guys
And the only roof he knows is that sometimes starry sky
A tattered sleeping bag on a concrete slab is his bed
And it’s too cold to talk tonight
So I just sit with him instead and think

How did I find myself in a better place
I can’t look down on the frown on the other guy’s face
‘Cause when I stoop down low, look him square in the eye
I get a funny feeling, I just might be dealing
With the face of Christ

After sixteen years in a cold, gray prison yard
Somehow his heart is soft, but keeping simple faith is hard
He lays his Bible open on the table next to me
And as I hear his humble prayer
I feel his longing to be free someday

How did I find myself in a better place
I can’t look down on the frown on the other guy’s face
‘Cause when I stoop down low, look him square in the eye
I get a funny feeling, I just might be dealing
With the face of Christ

See you had no choice which day you would be born
Or the color of your skin, or what planet you’d be on
Would your mind be strong, would your eyes be blue or brown
Whether daddy would be rich, or if momma stuck around at all

So if you find yourself in a better place
You can’t look down on the frown on the other guy’s face
You gotta stoop down low, look him square in the eye
And get a funny feeling, ‘cause you might be dealing …

How did I find myself in a better place
I can’t look down on the frown on the other guy’s face
‘Cause when I stoop down low, look him square in the eye
I get a funny feeling, I just might be dealing
With the face of Christ

With the face of Christ, yeah

With the face of Christ

These people seemed so lonely, or confused, or just plain sad about life. At first it was a little uncomfortable..but soon I started to look at these people and see something completely different. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” I began to look at these people and feel love and compassion towards them. I wish i would have sat down next to one of them and asked them to share their stories with me. These people began to fascinate me. The longer i sat in that waiting room, the more I began to feel as if I were in the presence of God Himself. As if by looking these people in the face, I was looking at the face of Christ. It was a moment I wont forget for a while.

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