“Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison and not minister to your needs?”
Today’s Gospel reading is, for me, the core teaching of Jesus. How could I have missed this or ignored what is clearly the central theme of His preaching? The poor, the hungry, the stranger, the sick are all vehicles to experience Jesus. When did I see Jesus hungry, in prison, sick or as a stranger? Apparently Jesus is not too concerned with the worthiness of the hungry ones, the sick ones or the strangers. It is not about them being deserving of my help; really it is not even about them but about my capacity and my ability to follow Jesus’ command to love. It is on that, and that alone that I am judged. Did I love? To ignore the needs of the sick is to miss an opportunity to love. To fail to welcome the stranger with open arms is a missed opportunity to love and to love the One.
As a Christian, from a “Christian nation”, how can I be so blind to the Gospel I heard today? I rationalize,
Maybe it isn’t THOSE sick ones or THOSE strangers I am to love. Maybe I am not supposed to love THOSE, the ones who don’t act like me, look like me, speak like me; those who aren’t “nice” like me? They haven’t deserved my love or apparently God’s. Of all my “brothers” they are surely “the least”.
But that isn’t Jesus’ command. It is “Love one another” and especially, “Love your enemies.” “Ed, you MUST love!” Who of us is deserving of love – each other’s or God’s? Who of us was not at one time “the stranger,” as we were reminded recently?
So I begin again today to love “the other”. It is in loving “the other” that I experience “the One”.
The trip back to Kenya was uneventful yet so tiring. I spent two days with friends in Brooklyn Heights before flying to Dubai (12 hours) and a 3 hour layover before the Nairobi flight for an additional 5 hour flight. Both legs of the journey were fine; I even had a seat in the front of the cabin for more legroom. It wasn’t exactly Business Class but it was nice to stretch my legs and smile at the crying baby next to me.
As usual I got in the wrong line at immigration in Nairobi. Every visit brings changes in the procedure and this time I waited in the line for those who had already purchased visas. So, another line and discussion with the Immigration lady about my length of stay. She quizzed me on what people and schools I would visit but I received my three months. Bags arrived – the last ones off the plane I am sure. I took a car to Hillcrest, my home where Ben had arrived hours before and had begun cleaning out the cobwebs and mopping up the considerable dirt and dust.
This is the start of the long rains and it had rained the night before, making the road to my place, through Jam City slum almost impassable. My host in New York had helped me purchase some packets of pre-made tuna salad and crackers, since I didn’t think Ben would bring food and I also knew the cooking gas was low or out. So Ben and I feasted on tuna salad crackers and mango juice for dinner. On Sunday we walked through Jam City mud to the market and bought food essentials and air time for phone and modem. I am all set. It was fun to hand out little gifts and donations I had brought, some from friends. Mwololo came on Sunday afternoon and I gave him his requests from the USA; DVDs from WWE wrestling and a book of Sunday Liturgical Readings.
Not one of our hippos - an imposter.
I have the day off today, Monday, so that I could clean, do some laundry and catch up with days of unread email. Tomorrow, weather permitting, Mwololo and I will meet formally to discuss our goals for this trip and what to do about current issues including a herd of hippos that are destroying crops in our area. On Friday, 6 hippos visited our neighbor’s farm, destroying the maize that was ready to be harvested. The farmer called KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service). On Saturday the KWS spent the day waiting out the hippos but with no luck. One would think that the KWS would know that hippos only appear at night. This same herd came to our farm weeks ago and trampled corn and beans but we dug a 1.5 x 1 meter trench (a moat) to slow them down. So far, so good.
So all is good in Kenya. The weather is fine, other than the rains which we are told will increase significantly this week. I am all smiles. Thanks! More later.