Benjamin arrived at our church today, looking slightly disheveled and in need of a shower and a shave. He came searching for a pastor. Well, when the pastors are not available, you get the next best thing. You get me. It became very clear that I was not the person he wanted to talk to but seeing that he was not going to be able to talk with a pastor of his choice, he finally gave in and started talking. What I discovered was that he was traveling by bicycle, with only a sleeping bag in tow. So far his travels had brought him to Lee's Summit, where he spent the night and thus encountered a particular situation. During a brief verbal altercation with some local individuals, his bike helmet light turned up missing. That situation brought him to the point where he felt the only thing he could do was to reach out for pastoral care. He was angry ... and lost. He knew that he could not safely travel without his bike light. He just wanted his light so that he could continue on his travels.
Throughout the course of the conversation, he heatedly mentioned several times that "Jesus Christ was no where to be found in Kansas City." (What do you say to that??) I was at a loss. I had never encountered such an individual and I was truly lost as to what to say or even offer to this man named Benjamin. Thankfully a co-worker arrived by my side and together we were able to suggest the resources of our police department. As you can imagine, this was not well received. Benjamin bundled himself up and after dismissing the offer for a prayer, he left the building ... empty-handed and determined to find resources for his much-needed light.
I returned to my office, feeling like I had failed Benjamin somehow and bigger yet, feeling like I had failed God. I felt like I had missed a true God-opportunity. My senior pastor assured me that I had not failed anyone and that I handled this situation well. I was not convinced.
It was then that I recalled the scripture I had read earlier in the day. I had decided to start reading "advent" scriptures in order to begin preparing my heart for the season of Christmas and the first verse was John 1:1-5 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the LIGHT OF ALL MANKIND. THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS HAS NOT OVERCOME IT."
Benjamin had lost his light. He could not see Jesus. And then it hit me. There are Benjamins in this world that are in the dark. Benjamins that are lost. Benjamins that are in search of the Light. God has spoken to me through this man name Benjamin and I have heard Him. We are to be the Light through our actions, our words, our hands, our hearts in order for the Benjamins of the world to see and know the Light.
So, in my helplessness towards Benjamin's plight, I pray for Benjamin. I pray that he is safe and warm. I pray that he has found a light, THE LIGHT, in order that he may find his way. And I pray that he discovers Jesus Christ in Kansas City ... because, yes, Benjamin. Jesus IS in Kansas City. Merry Christmas, sir. Now and every day.