I am finishing preparations to

I am finishing preparations to preach on Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus’ story of the Sheep and the Goats, tomorrow at church. I remembered a story and insight from Jim Wallis’ latest book that tied in with the passage for this week.

Wallis, in his book God’s Politics, comments on how the story of the Sheep and Goats told by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 25, was the passage of Scripture that brought him back to the Christian faith. He tells why this is so and illustrates the story with a poor, Pentecostal woman in his neighborhood—Mary Glover—who would always pray this prayer at the neighborhood center as people were about to arrive to pick up groceries, “Lord, we know you’ll be comin’ through this line today, so Lord, help us to treat you well.”

Wallis notes in the book that this prayer became well known and prayed so much that it ultimately made it into the official prayer book of the World Council of Churches. Ken Medema took the prayer and wrote “Coal Black Jesus,”

I’m just a coal black Jesus with a hole in his shoes,
On a D.C. street with no more to lose,
Get into the line and there you’ll stand
And sing, “Sweet Mother Mary, put some food in my hand.”
A coal black Jesus with a hole in his shoes,
On a D.C. street with no more to lose,
Get into the line and there you’ll stand
Saying, “Sweet Mother Mary, put some food in my hand.”

The challenge of this text from Jesus for me is incredible. It is so easy for me to walk right past Jesus, in his “distressing disguise”(Mother Theresa’s description), missing him on my way to important things of the day.

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About John Henson

I am Pastor of Church for the Highlands in the Highland neighborhood of Shreveport, LA. I am also Chaplain of Volunteers of America of North Louisiana. I am husband to Jinny and father to a middle-schooler named Jack. Most of my time is taken up with starting a church, but I love running, a good cigar, and reading what mystics have lived and written. Member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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