Meeting Jesus: Common People... Uncommon Stories (Hardcover)
Meeting Jesus, Common People, Uncommon Stories is the result of a pastoralexperience linked with cultural Biblical knowledge. The book was really written for one person, thus it is a very personal endeavor. Maggie LIechty was an elderly woman who was housebound because of health issues. Regular pastoral visits grew to include serious faith conversations about Biblical persons whose lives were changed by their encounter with Jesus. Maggie was not about to accept simple, easy answers. These were real people struggling with real issues that complicated their lives. Maggie felt with them because of her own situation and she wanted to know more these persons and what their life was like before meeting Jesus. She felt that these persons were important and they deserved more than the brief encounter recorded in scripture. For her, they were persons struggling with a life that was not of their own doing.
These persons became the focus of our weekly pastoral visits as Maggie regularly identified with these persons, and celebrated their new life with her own limited social contacts. She regularly insisted on seeing Jesus as a very sensitive, caring person who empathized with the Biblical persons. She constantly noted how Jesus accepted persons and dignified them by stopping to talk with them and rather than pass them by as many people did with her. She saw Jesus injecting hope into a situation where despair was more likely.
In the process of these visits I discovered a more human compassionate Jesus whose presence impacted people in very positive ways. Maggie often insisted that the church should offering the same contact, the same belief that these persons had value, and that their healing often happened because of the acceptance of the faith community.. She believed that healing happens within the faith community even when the literal physical situation remains the same. Jesus worked at community acceptance and the social inclusion that changed how persons were seen and how a special kind of healing made life so much better for these persons.
In the process of these sharing these stories, Maggie helped me to discover places where healing was thwarted because the faith community refused to see them as whole persons using their physical condition as a reason to exclude them from full participation in the faith community.
In the process of sharing with Maggie and writing these stories I began to see Jesus and the meaning of Christian Faith differently. I discovered a more compassionate Jesus wose simple presence spoke to the situation of each individual giving them dignity and hope. By her simple, yet very profound experience of God's presence in Jesus, I began to also see persons today with new empathy and healing acceptance.
I would also be honest in acknowledging that this new acceptance and open inclusion my own church situation was not always met with
positive affirmation. Today just as in Jesus's own day challenging the established social mores of the spiritual community is not always greeted
with positive enthusiasm.. It is my prayer that these very personal, human stories of people meeting
Jesus will be a source of inspiration and healing in our own experience.