I think it was at Vacation Bible School about two years ago that the story for the evening was about the 10 lepers. It just so happened that my nephew had just returned from teaching English in China for almost a year. While there, he and some of his students visited a village of people with leprosy. He told me their story and shared some photos of his new friends.
Bob D. and I were in charge of the games for the week. But one night I told the kids I had a story for them. I gave them each an oreo cookie and asked them to eat it, hoping that at least one would eat the center first. And sure enough, one came through for me! We determined that eating the center first, in our opinion, was the only way to eat this cookie, because that’s where the best part was. I then showed them the photos of the people with leprosy. Some were disfigured as the disease had affected the skin on their faces or arms. I told the kids that these people had been sent away from their families and friends to live in this village, and that they felt that they had been forgotten – that people didn’t love them because of how they looked. We talked about how maybe the best part of these people was on the inside – that it didn’t matter how they looked on the outside – they were still God’s children who needed to be loved.
We have great kids at our church! When I asked if they wanted to skip the games that night in order to make cards and crafts to send to the people of this village, they were all for it! And if you could have read the notes they wrote – well, they were very heart-warming and I am sure they brightened the day of those who received those “little” gifts.
But we’ve all been guilty, I think at one time or another, of making quick judgements about people based upon their appearance. I remember a few years back when Paul E. dressed up in ragged, dirty clothes and came into church and sat down in one of the front pews. I think he actually gave the kid’s message that day. I can just imagine what people were thinking and how surprised they were when he finally revealed himself.
This all reminds me of the song by Collin Raye called “What if Jesus Came Back Like That?” The first verse goes like this:
He come to town on an old frieght train
He jumped off in the pouring rain
Everybody said he’s insane
Just a low down no account hobo
He made his bed beneath the county bridge
The city folks said “Hey, that’s not his.”
They signed a petition, they’re gonna get rid
Of that low down no account white trash.
What if Jesus comes back like that
On an old freight train in a hobo hat
Will we let him in or turn our our back
What if Jesus comes back back like that?
(To hear the entire song, click: “What If“)