I recall a video from many years ago about a man going about his usual day, except the day isn’t going very well at all.
He starts to pull out of the driveway, and almost runs over a child on a bike.
He gets to his favorite coffee shop, and a woman steals his parking place.
The man in front of him at the coffee shop, places an order for his entire office building. When he finally gets to the counter, he has to wait until they brew a fresh batch.
While waiting, he sits down and is seething in frustration. Someone walks up and hands him a pair of sunglasses and then disappears. Confused, he puts the glasses on and all of sudden little bubbles, like in the Sunday comics, appear above everyone’s head. Instead of dialog however, he can read what is really going on in everyone’s life.
The woman who cut him off is distracted because her child is sick.
The man who placed the huge coffee order is worried about a medical diagnosis he just received.
The barista is struggling with addiction.
And finally, returning home a bit shaken, he sees the child that he almost hit on the bike with a bubble above his head which says, “Just need someone who cares.”
The man gets out of his car and walks over to help the boy fix his bike.
It’s easy to forget that the people we encounter daily are going through “stuff” just like we are. Oh, that we could all have some sunglasses that might reveal to us what others are going through, so that we are all on a level plain with each other.
In the gospel of Luke, chapter 6, Jesus gathers his disciples and comes down to a level place, a place accessible to many different people, including those who have been marginalized. A level place where he stands with them, where he looks at them eye-to-eye, where he talks with them person-to-person. It says they came to be healed, to touch him, and power came out from him and ALL were healed. You could almost imagine the scene like the video that I described, that as Jesus looked around at the crowds, as he looked into their eyes, that little bubbles appeared above their heads, with those who came to him hungering for dignity and wholeness, forgiveness and hope. And as he was filled with compassion the power of healing came out of him.
After this experience, he looked up at his disciples and spoke his message for all to hear: “Blessed are you…” He spoke directly to them, intimately and compassionately.
The gospel message for each of us is that we are blessed, and we are called to live out that blessing of love and peace, of grace and compassion. To follow Jesus’ example by coming down on a level plain and walking alongside those in the deepest pain, those that have nothing left. As we go about our daily lives, how might we treat each other if we could receive the gift of being able to see bubbles above everyone’s head that tell us what’s going on in their lives? That would be quite a gift, wouldn’t it?