|Global Ministries missionary Becky Harrell serves in Costa Rica. |
Photo courtesy of Global Ministries Mission News.
05 agosto 2011
Just outside the gate and on the bottom step leading into the cathedral of downtown San Jose sits an elderly man who has a tag clipped to his shirt stating, “I have Parkinson’s.” Each time I enter the cathedral with a work or study team from the U.S. he is faithfully there, humbly holding out his hand for whatever you may wish to share with him. He has captured my attention and heart each time I pass so we speak (rather I speak and he nods).
A short time ago I made that same trip to downtown with a visiting work team and once again we entered the gates. But this time there were two policemen who were attempting to lift up this man and all his meager possessions. My first response was to intervene on his behalf. The police told me they were moving him as TV camera’s would soon be arriving and didn’t want him on the main steps. It was the national celebration of “La Negrita de las Angeles” and the faithful from throughout Costa Rica were making their pilgrimage to the national Basilica and on the way stopping here at the city cathedral. I suggested they allow him to stay where he is as this is his usual spot to greet all who enter, but the police saw it differently.
Suddenly two Costa Rican women, who witnessed what was happening, stopped the police and explained that this man was not bothering people, but was an elderly man with an illness and truly in need of help. Knowing these women would most likely have more sway over the police and me, we entered the cathedral.
Upon our exit I looked for the gentleman and found that indeed the police had been successful in moving him to a place where most wouldn’t observe him, and certainly out of the view of the TV's cameras. I walked over and held his hand and his joy continued to show from his eyes as if saying “It’s all right.”
The unworthy, the unclean, the sick, the addicts, those who don’t look like me? These are the ones we are to avoid? Not according to Jesus. What is it that we fear and why do we look away? Are we really fearful of being harmed or something being taken from us? All we have is from God. Do we not realize the power of a loving touch, the amazing force behind a nod or a smile? Do we truly believe that only we are worthy and the others deserve where they are because they have done evil? Really? So we just brush them aside, pass them by on the street, ignore their need? We are saved and they are not…nannynannybooboo! Not the God I know, not the Christ, not the Holy Spirit. Is it possible these encounters are an examination of our hearts? The reflection is sometimes difficult to see.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Acts 2:44
The next trip downtown to the cathedral I feel a hug is more in order for this man, a child of God who like anyone else is having a difficult time. And isn’t that how Jesus taught us to live, to help those around us and in doing so allow them to know Christ as well? One day we may be the one in need and how will we react when the faithful turn away?
“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Acts 3:6-10
Becky Harrell, Missionary www.beckyincostarica.org United Methodist Church-General Board of Global Ministries, Advance Code #15141Z. To support Becky-give Securely Online at www.bit.ly/dCy5iv Assignment: Latin American Biblical University, San Jose Costa Rica www.unibiblica.net/