But this week we turned out attention to the present continuous tense, the way that Jesus is currently coming. Now. As in Matthew 25. As in, "I was . . . you did it to me."
We had our Paeds team over, the very people with whom one would want to ponder this present reality of Jesus as he appears in our current lives. And we read one of my favorite books, Papa Panov's Christmas, a Leo Tolstoy retelling of a simple shoemaker who looks for Jesus on Christmas day and realizes he saw Him in the poor and needy and hurting people who came to his shop.
It was lovely to have a house full of friends, American and Kenyan and Canadian. To have a beautiful spread of cookies. To play and sing carols, to light candles, to talk and visit. I miss the bustle of being the social center of a team.
But more than the atmosphere, I needed to be reminded of the message. As the strike drug on, I spent 11 hours of Sunday in the hospital (almost the whole day, except the hour and a half of our party!). I needed to think of the next person, and the next, as Jesus, however unlikely. A little boy found naked, cold, unconscious by the roadside by a slightly inebriated man who dropped him off at the casualty department as a dead body, but who later warmed and woke. Hours later his family found him. It seems he is a mentally retarded child with a convulsion disorder who had been locked in the house while his mom went to get milk, crawled out the window, and decided to try and walk to see his distant grandfather. The police were involved by this point, and we appealed to the family to support this mother, and watch this boy. . . . . A nearly two year old who had lost a third of his body weight in the last few months, received terrible medical advice from a district hospital, and whose mother persisted in thinking that there must be something else she could do for him . . . a toddler whose mom also abandoned her admission at a government hospital after she saw no improvement in days of admission, and had seen no doctor the entire time in spite of the serious diagnosis of meningitis. . . kids with vomiting, with dwindling, with cough. . . a little preemie who just tried to give up on life as his fever spiked up and he lost the drive to breathe, requiring hours of resuscitation including a couple of rounds of CPR until the nurses had an important observation about some missed medicines that helped him pull on through.
All of these kids, and more, were Jesus at Kijabe yesterday. And until he comes in power, we will continue to meet him in these unlikely powerless people and places.