Jesus Wears Johnny Cash Black: “I was naked and…”

Faces of Jesus: Lars

I’ve learned. The next time I see Lars I don’t hand him anything. I say, “Hi,” and sit on the sidewalk next to him for a long and intentionally silent conversation, keeping five bucks hidden under my hand on the curb.

It’s almost nice. I mean, twenty-five minutes of being still, letting the world move around me, not being out in the traffic and endless flow of thoughts about ‘The Things Of Life To Get Done’ could be relaxing. It could be… except I keep thinking about Jesus saying we should help the needy and invite the stranger into our homes. Sure, that was a different culture. But what if we did that now?

I picture Lars’ fingernails trimmed short, the cuticles not looking as though he’s clawed through the dirt. I wonder if he would clean up his beard or shave it off. Would his hair even wash out clean? If he knew I had clippers, would he ask me to buzz his head?

Would he talk after a can of soup and a loaf of bread? Could I find some clean clothes to fit him? New shoes? Old shoes? I compare our shoe sizes. His feet are smaller than mine. So are his legs. His one shirt is so threadbare his right shoulder is completely exposed to the sun. I’ve surely got some T-shirts…

I drive home and stare at my closet. Are all my T-shirts blue or gray? Lars wears black. All black. Black shirt, black pants, black shoes…

You know what, Dave? If it were you, you’d be thankful, yes, but would you really want someone’s old shirt out of their closet? Just go buy the dude some shirts. I mean, if you could see he was Jesus—

He’d already be in my house…

All the way to the store, the excuses come.

I have kids—girls—and people are weird, and the laws are such that he could become a squatter and never leave, and we don’t even own our place. I’d be subletting without permission…

I wander the aisles, guessing at his size, relieved when I find I have a choice: black, in long or short sleeves.

I buy both.

Bag ready, complete with receipt, I sit down next to Lars again, shirts out of sight beside me, waiting to be found when I leave. The pavement from the street makes our world hot. We still don’t talk, so I drift in thought until I end up quietly wondering how often Jesus felt lonely…


Matthew 25

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

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