There aren’t a lot of people outdoors at 5:00am in the bedroom community where I live. Perhaps a few with early morning occupations, the occasional party animal coming home, and me – a runner.
One particular day while trotting along a more major street before dawn, a garbage truck came toward me. We were the only signs of life in sight. I waved as it passed, and in response heard two friendly taps on the horn: “Beep beep.”
With nothing more profound than that, we both continued on our way … me finishing a workout while the truck went to its next stop. But there was now an important difference. No longer were we simply a runner and a truck driver. We had become two living beings, with a human connection.
This illustrates one aspect of the life of Jesus. To him, every person was significant. They had stories. There was depth behind their life situations that deserved exposure and reflection.
Today we hear sermons about “the woman at the well”, “the rich young ruler”, and “the woman taken in adultery.” While the points made may be helpful (or not), the bigger lesson is that Jesus engaged with these individuals. He touched them at their exact points of pain and need. He gave them opportunities for reconciliation. He expressed love.
Somewhere in south Florida there’s a guy who happens to drive a garbage truck for a living. No doubt, like all of us, there are many facets to his life. I can only hope that early one morning he felt a little more human, momentarily linked to another human by a couple simple acts of acknowledgment. I know I did, and it was good.