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real Jesus

I sat in a coffee shop, much like I am now… much like I am often… waiting for the high school senior I was going to meet. While I waited, I spent my time productively – playing 94seconds and eavesdropping on the table next to me.

After a few seconds, it was abundantly clear the guys at the table next to me were pastors. They talked about salvation, church membership, what their youth group was doing – typical. Then one of them said, “I’m not really a people person. I’m not anti-people. I just don’t really like being around them.” Needless to say, now I was interested for the sheer joy of tweeting about that insane quote. They proceeded from there to talk about how to quantify salvation in terms of dollars. They compared it to cancer research and talked about salvation as some sort of magic formula that made the human condition, homelessness, disease, life, the universe, and everything immediately better. Then I posted about them on Twitter. Sarcastically. Because I’m not a good person.

My eavesdropping and judgment was interrupted by the student I was meeting. *Caroline has one of the toughest stories I’ve ever heard. Abandoned by her mom, trying to get herself unhooked from drugs, and relying as much as she can on “my God” (her words). When I asked her about what she had done all week, she told me she had just been wandering around town, noticed a couple homeless guys and bought them McDonalds for a hot lunch on a cold day. She told me that she wanted to do something that mattered with her life. That her story – one sewn with tragedy and more trouble than anyone should ever face – should matter. That she thinks God is going to use it one day. She prays every day for her still-addicted brother.

As I listened to her talk about her complete and total need for God and reliance on what He is doing in her life to pull her out of the mess she’d been living in, I realized that I was watching a picture of Jesus.

What He does in a life.

The kind of love that He has for people.

She doesn’t look like your typical church kid, but she’s there every Sunday. She loves “old ladies” and “people no one else cares about, like the homeless.” I think she looks like Jesus.

More so than the pastors at the next table worried about economic gain.

More so than my judgmental self eavesdropping on said pastors.

This wonderful, wise 18-year old, she’s the one who was most like Jesus in our little corner of the world and I have a lot to learn from her.

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