Late on Good Friday, after our meditation, my most regular homeless friend (he’s not actually homeless anymore, he’s in a halfway-house-type-of-thing) came over. We talked for a while about how he is doing, I asked him if he’s stayed clean, he got high last week and got kicked out of his house for a while, but met with his social worker and the house manager and is back in now. Etc.
I told him how the one time he came over, right before he went into rehab, he asked me for a good word, “Something from the Bible or something.” I had thought to myself, “I’ve never mentioned the Bible or faith to this guy at all,” and didn’t come up with a verse for him, just encouraged him with my own words. After he left that night I thought of the verse I wish I had shared: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
He asked me when I told him this, “How do you know when you’re out of Christ Jesus.”
I said something to the effect of, “Wow…that’s a good question…I didn’t expect such a good question…[some probably incoherant attempt at a reply and then finally]…I don’t know.”
Part of the incoherant bit was me saying that I didn’t think he was “out” of Christ Jesus. But what interests me more than the potential theological underpinnings of our conversation is just the fact that this friend of mine was so able to cut to the heart of questions of us, of humanity. I had no propositional explanation for him, no perfect words that put his mind at rest and established myself as the intellectually and socially superior minister of souls.
What I had was some more conversation, about other stuff, about his experience on the streets, about meeting great people, etc. And a hug and four bucks and a smile and a handshake and a “see you around.” And I can only hope that some of that put his soul more at ease. As he left he spoke to Pavlov and myself in his native African tongue.
Happy Easter. Have you survived your dark weekend locked in a room, waiting for what you don’t even know? When it arrives will it require you to put your fingers in the nail holes? You betcha.