What a Middle Eastern Man Would Tell You
She smiles to herself as she scrolls pages on her laptop, a Mona Lisa mystery, this stranger in a coffee shop. Black- and green-garbed coffee baristas tamp espresso grounds and make machines hum and hiss. They hand me a tall dark roast coffee and a warmed-up chocolate croissant.
Condensation beads on the windowsill beside me, as cars queue up in the drive-through outside. Sun-tipped bushes bow in the breeze beside a gleaming pebbled walkway, aglow in the morning sun. Creamy yellow and blue sky stacks low and birds on a wire suddenly swoop dangerously down to perch on a highway divider.
Jazzy piano fills the coffee shop inside and I ease off my sweater in the warmth. Small square tabletops gleam a cocoa-wood and invite me to write and read.
“Lord, I come to you, let my heart be changed, renewed,” I hum silently, my prayer as I start reading God’s word. My Bible bookmark is a tiny yellow post-it note with fragments from Psalm 119 on it:
– “…Teach me your decrees…” (vs. 12)
– “…I will not neglect your word…” (vs. 16)
– “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law…” (vs.18).
My eyes trace the fading pencil marks, reading it as a silent prayer each time I open the Bible here. Open my eyes so I can see wonderful things in your word.
And he does.
I read of the God-Man who climbs into a docked fishing boat on a cool Middle Eastern morning so that more people can see and hear him as the crowds push in close. I see the long-haired Jewish God-Man amaze fishermen, peasants, and Roman government nobles, inviting them to changed lives and wild new adventures.
I see a crusty-skin, pale, flaky finger- and toe-amputee with a contagious skin disease and eroding facial features fall face-down in the street. Labeled incurable, infectious, unclean, and undesirable, he was socially exiled. Seeing the God-Man in his region, this hopeless man ventures dangerously into the city, pushes through the crowds, and falls on his face.
“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean,” he begs.
I stop reading and remember my silent prayer: “Lord, I come to you, let [me] be changed, renewed.”
Jesus reaches out his hand and touches the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean.”