One of my favourite Gospels is Matthew 25. I seek the face of God in all I meet…or at least I try. Sometimes I forget. The stranger, the refugee, the abandoned, and so many others whisper for us to remember. The other night in prison, during my monthly chapel visit, I spoke to a lifer who had been drastically changed while behind bars. He had been in since he was a teen and had served 40 years so I knew whatever he had done was fairly terrible. He had escaped twice, had been one of the most dangerous offenders in the country, and he sat within arm’s reach.
His story somehow caught me and we went into deep conversation quickly. He spoke humbly and honestly. He told me of how one day he got down on his knees after realizing that his life could end two ways. He could continue on his path of self-destruction or he could give his life to God and hope for a few good years when he finally got out. He chose the later. A sibling had chosen a completely different life–honest, upright and just. I was curious as to what had happened in life that had set them on opposite paths. He told me what he thought.
At the end of it, I stood, shook his hand and told him that it had been an absolute pleasure. I am not sure that others will understand that but there was something about this man that told me he had been redeemed. In that I recognized the face of God.
Who might take you by surprise and make you miss the Christ when he is standing in front of you?