One of the last days that I was in Chontal in Ecuador, Suzie, whose husband Daniel lost a lot of his farm in the landslides, invited me over for breakfast, to express gratitude for the fundraiser we had there. As I was sitting at the table, her sister Sonia came to join me at the table while Suzie was doing some cooking. She asked me, “So Jerome, when you go and visit houses, what do you do, do you do some type of teaching? If I invited you into my house, like, would you say to the man, you shouldn’t be drinking, do you say to the woman, you shouldn’t be wasting time, or to the kids, you should obey your parents?”
So I swallowed my food and I said, “Well, when I accept whatever you give me to eat, that’s a teaching. When I listen to you and everyone in the family, that is a teaching. When I play with the kids find joy in them, that is a teaching. When I make mistakes, and fumble with the language and still want to be here with you, that is a teaching. I come here because there is beauty already here. There is beauty already inside each of us. I come to recognize the beauty and bring it out. Yes, I am always teaching.” As I was saying it, you could see her personality and her heart literally open up. Then, I reached out my left hand and picked up the giant glass of orange juice between us. See, I was given a second glass of orange juice, and I was going to drink whatever they gave me. She waited until I was done chugging it down. Then she said, “You just drank my orange juice!” I had actually drunk a third glass of OJ by mistake, I hadn’t even noticed drinking the second one earlier. “See!” I said, and we laughed, as my poor belly shook with all the OJ.
When Jesus comes to the world, He comes to teach. But when He comes to each of us, He doesn’t come telling us what to do. He doesn’t see all that’s wrong with us and have a list of “shoulds”. No, Jesus comes as a servant. He comes glad to be received, glad to be with us, glad to listen to us, to receive whatever we offer Him. He comes vulnerable. And He does it all because He loves us to our depths, He sees the beauty already inside of us and He wants to bring it out.
Jesus comes to make our personality and heart open up.
He comes to save us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (Jn 3:16-17)