[#pictureLent] Mar. 1: Sawubona

By Fawn Mikel
Christ UMC, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

First, Read Matthew 25:45

Years ago my family and I traveled to Europe as we celebrated our last child's graduation. The first few days were quite frustrating when we would stop at a restaurant to eat as the service was so very slow. We would be one of 3 tables of patrons and it would take forever to receive our food, the next course, or after dinner coffee. Even the McDonald's directly across from the Palace of Versailles outside Paris gave fast food a whole new meaning (can you imagine waiting 20 minutes for a cup of McCoffee in the U.S.?).

Sadly, it took us awhile to realize the difference in eating European style versus American style - people sat across from each other and looked each other in the eye and talked. Really talked. They took in each other's words and gestures. They were not in a hurry to get to the next place or do the next thing. They were there to listen and take in the whole person in front of them.

Jesus tells the disciples a wonderful parable in Matthew 25 (v. 31-46) about 20/20 vision and blindness. He explains that when we reach out to those in need we have served Christ himself. And then he adds that when we ignore the least, the lost, the hurting and alone we have ignored the Messiah.

My guess is that we are like the disciples telling ourselves we would never refuse someone in real need. After all, don't we give to missions, bring food to our church food drives, and donate our out of fashion clothes to thrift stores? But I believe that was not what Jesus was asking of us. Jesus wanted more of us.

Twice within the past year I have heard the South African greeting, "Sawubona." Translated literally it means "I see you." This is what Christ asks of us - to see each other. REALLY see each other. Not just those with whom we sit across a dinner table. Jesus told the disciples, and us, to LOOK FOR people.

We are called to have eyes that intentionally search for those who are homeless and cold and hopeless. And when we do so we will see and serve the Christ. And when we refuse to look and see - well, we miss the opportunity to experience, serve and know the living Christ in our presence.

Prayer: Dear God, please give me a heart eager to look for you and eyes to see you that I may serve you all the days of my life. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  1. When has someone truly given you their undivided attention?
  2. Has there been a time when you have overlooked someone in need, refusing to "see" them as Christ longing for you to help?
  3. Are you willing today to look for Christ in ALL the people you see?