Everybody Needs Love

This week I learned of a brother in Christ passing away at an old church of mine.  Once again I was struck with grief because it was unexpectant.  This was yet another death that pierced my heart.  While the Church witnesses our sisters and brothers passing away all the time, this particular individual stood out to me.  You see, he was a brother who wasn't apart of the "in crowd".  He didn't have any position in the church or didn't serve in any ministries.  As a matter of fact, no one wanted to sit beside him or wanted to touch him. My brother had the appearance of a homeless man, even though he was not homeless.  He had an unpleasant odor and his clothes were unkempt.  So, when the time came to hug your neighbor...he found himself with very little hugs.  At some point, he positioned himself around those individuals who did show him love.

As I ponder the lost of my dear brother in Christ, I have been reminded of the story in Mark 1:40-45.  In this story there was a man with leprosy.  He was a man who was an outcast and was isolated because of his condition.  In those days, no one would touch him for fear of being considered unclean.  Yet, when the man saw Jesus he cried out and asked Jesus to heal him.  The bible says that Jesus was moved with compassion and touched him.  It was in that moment, the man was healed!  I believe the man was overjoyed because not only was he healed physically, but the healing restored him to a place of acceptance in society.  He was in a postion to be loved, touched and accepted once again.  He wanted love.  He needed love.

My brother in Christ also wanted and needed love.  When I saw him in service he would often come over and embrace me.  I remember when his mother died, he was filled with grief.  I saw the tears streaming down his face as he kneeled at the alter.  I remember this grown man crying in my arms.  He wanted to be held...he needed to be held...he needed love...and more importantly, now that mom was gone, who was going to love him unconditionally.  I would think it would be the body of Christ, but that would mean us moving past the odor and being moved with compassion.  It would mean offering a touch of love just as our Savior did.

Is it easy...no...but, what drives me is my own need for love.  I am also reminded that Jesus overlooks my filthiness and loves me.  Jesus is moved by compassion for all of us and offers each one of us a touch of his love.  I know we can't love as perfectly as Jesus, but we can strive.  We can start by offering a touch and a smile.

I'm going to miss my brother.  He was always praising the Lord.  He was always the first, and most of the time, the only one who knelt at the alter for prayer.  He taught me humility and reverence at the throne of grace.  I know that he is now praising God and kneeling at the throne in paradise.  I'll see you one day, my brother, until then...I know you are basking in the presence of our sweet and loving Savior.


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