Browsing during my hole in the night recently, I chanced on this quote from Cardinal John Henry Neumann (1801-1890): “I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: Go down again—I dwell among the people.” Among the people! That’s where Jesus lived; and that’s where his followers must live.
My pondering triggered a story told me long ago by a pastor friend in Upper Michigan. His name was Paul.
Paul told me he was driving a country road near his church one afternoon and came on a shabby, grizzled, one-eyed hitchhiker. Sensing the old man was hungry, Paul stopped at a café.
The man called himself Scotty. Said he lost his eye in a bar fight when he was young. They chatted over coffee and Paul drove him to his shack on a dirt road, offering o pick him up for church the following Sunday morning.
Acceptance, friendship, and food turned the lonesome man into a church regular–first time in his life. The church bought him clothes and arranged weekly transportation. In time, Scotty professed faith in Christ. When offered a Bible, he admitted he could not read or write. Pastor Paul offered to teach him, working from the Scriptures.
In his latter years, Scotty had spent most of his daylight hours at the small tavern near his shack, doing odd-jobs for drinks. One day, a man from the church chanced by and spotted Scottie entering the tavern. He phoned Pastor Paul. Paul hurried to the tavern and found Scotty sitting at the bar chatting with the bartender.
Surprised, Scotty greeted him warmly. Pastor Paul said, “What are you doing here, Scotty? You promised to give up drink.” Scotty looked puzzled. “Didn’t you preach last Sunday we should tell our friends about Jesus? This is where my friends are.”
“I dwell among the people.”
Old Grandpa Lloyd