Jesus was sitting on the chancel steps, off to one side, near the organ. He was just sitting. I noticed he was barefoot. I went over and sat near him. Not on the same step because, it’s Jesus, you don’t sit on the same level as him, you sit below. So I sat one step below. I looked at him. He looked at me. I noticed his feet, wondered, didn’t ask. Then we talked. I spoke first.
— You are not what I expected.
— What were you expecting?
— Someone more – glorious. Higher up somehow. Shining. Bigger.
— You seem – less like God and more like – me. That doesn’t seem right.
— Your eyes are not deceiving you.
— But –
— But what?
— But you seem so – so . . .
— So ordinary?
— Oh, don’t read my mind like that! I’m so embarrassed!
— Am I right? Or are you turning pink just for fun?
— You are right. Are you mad?
— No, I’m not mad!! What’s to be mad about?
— I’m afraid I am insulting you. Which seems like something one should avoid.
— Hey, you’re not insulting me. You are seeing me. I want you to see me. I want you to follow me! How can you follow me if you can’t see me??
— Um, I hope you mean metaphorically seeing, because if you mean really seeing, that could get weird.
— No. Not a metaphor. Seeing. Me. God Incarnate, if you’ll pardon me, every-freaking-where.
— This isn’t right. I don’t see you everywhere. You, Jesus, are in the clean, well-lit church. You are in the charming town square nativity scene. You are on the t-shirts of the people holding the signs that say gay people are going to hell. You are not, if you’ll pardon me, every-freaking-where.
— Child, you are mistaken.
— I am?
— You are. You do not know what I look like so you do not know where to find me.
— I’m sorry. Tell me what you look like.
— I have told you. It is spelled out in the gospels, straight from my mouth. I am the unfed. I am the unclothed. I am the unwell. I am the unvisited. I am the unacknowledged. I am the unfairly treated.
— I remember that story, but I am confused. I thought you said that if we have seen you, we have seen God. Thinking about all those un-people – that’s not where I thought I would find God. I thought I would find God on a mountaintop, or in a sunrise, or in the eyes of someone I love. I’m serious.
— God is in those places, absolutely, because God is everywhere, but if you only look for God in those places, you will not get the whole picture. And you must get the whole picture. People who only get part of the picture are hurting other people. My beloved children are hurting and killing each other. I need you to see who I am.
— Who are you?
— I am Every One. I am especially whom you would not expect me to be. And I am Every Where. I am equally distributed, if you will, but I am most easily seen or found in thin places – moments of unspeakable beauty and moments of deepest pain. Where the created world intersects with beauty and where the created world intersects with pain, that is where you will find me. And guess what?
— Oh no, don’t tell me.
— Yes. It’s true. It’s the same place.
— No! It can’t be! It doesn’t work that way! Good is good and bad is bad. Light is light and dark is dark. The saints go to heaven and the sinners go to hell. DON’T ROCK MY WORLD!!
— Child. Pause a moment. I need you to look at this with me. I need you. Are you still with me?