|Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.|
I am not a Catholic, but I am a christian as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I embrace opportunities to learn more about how others approach God through their worship.
As I entered the grounds, I came upon the following sculpture of a homeless man.
I paused, thinking this was a strange sculpture for such a beautiful location. Homelessness is a terrible problem throughout much of the United States. I felt my nose wrinkle as I cast judgement. If I were the art director for these grounds, surely there were much more beautiful pieces that could have been curated for such a notable place visited by so many every year.
And, then, as I continued on, my blood ran cold as my gaze landed upon the feet of the man depicted in the sculpture.
Recognition quickly set over me as I stared at the prints of the nails in His feet, tangible symbols of a price paid for all of us. I know and love this man. It was the bruised and broken body of The Master, our Savior Jesus Christ.
I was surprised that I did not recognize Him earlier. Here is a man that I love, that I try to follow in my everyday life, though I often fall short of His ways and teachings.
I wondered why my reaction was closer to that of disgust rather than worry for the homeless, and I knew that a better christian would have had thoughts of compassion initially.
I reflected on the lyrics of a well-loved hymn called 'A Poor Way-Faring Man of Grief':
My wife Mary and I stood there for a couple of moments quietly pondering about the Savior and my wife remarked that it was her favorite piece of artwork that she had seen so far in Ireland. I am quite certain that the art was effective and that it fulfilled the objective of the artist as it required us to contemplate our own discipleship.
In one of the final discussions with His apostles, Jesus taught:
|Christ Teaches His Apostles|
In the weeks since this experience, I have thought about what type of person am I really. If I do not recognize the body of Christ, what other opportunities around me am I missing to serve and lift others? In what ways do I neglect the commandment I have been given to love one another because of the judgements I place on others? What people in my life are silently suffering or have a need of my time, service, or compassion?
2016 is a difficult time. Social media is full of vitriol. We tend to judge each other based on the clothes we wear, the vehicles we drive, the things we eat. With so many differences of opinion on everything from politics to religion to parenting techniques, life has become full of unsolicited criticism. Casting judgements on others without really knowing them, their backstory, or what they may be going through is a missed opportunity on our part to just love as the Savior loves.
Note that Christ did not give the disclaimer that we should love another if one deems themselves worthy of our love, or if one aligns with our viewpoints - rather the commandment is that we should love as He did, which in my opinion is an unconditional love.
I am hopeful that I will be able to remove prejudice and judgement from my view as I continue to grow in love for God, for others, and for myself.
|The author with his family at Christ Church Cathedral. Dublin, Ireland.|