I have been leading a poetry group each week at the community event Good Works sponsors called Friday Night Life. I want to share a brief story about how I saw Christ there.
Jerry is an elderly man who attends the supper every week. He is social but he doesn’t seem very “intelligent.” For a long time he had been telling me about his poems. I kept asking him to share it with the group but he always said he couldn’t find them. I just thought he was pulling my leg the whole time. Not only that but he would come to the group, carrying his large volume of American poets, and ask other people to read his favorite poems since he didn’t bring his glasses. I wasn’t trying to judge but I began to suspect that this man couldn’t read and had never written any poems in his life. Then one week he brought a paper to the group and said he was prepared to read his poems. He read two original and beautiful poems with tears streaming down his face. They were both sacred memories from his life. Other people affirmed Jerry and encouraged him in his work. I sat stunned and humbled. Stunned by this simple and “unintelligent” man’s eloquence and depth and humbled by my own elitist mentality. I silently thanked God for allowing me to see Jerry as he sees him—a man with plenty to offer despite all appearances.
Often, God has appeared in “the least of these” during my time at Good Works. He always seems to appear to humble me and remind me that I am but dust. And that all people in his body have special and unique gifts that I need in order to experience the fullness of Christ—if I would but see them and believe!
To the outsider, the poetry group might seem like just an outlet for people to express their feelings. But I believe it is more than that; I believe it is a glimpse of the kingdom of God. It is a place where people come and actually want to listen to each other. The members are open and honest. The atmosphere is peaceful. Class distinctions are forgotten. There is no awareness of education levels. Though some write beautifully and others a bit rougher only encouragement is ever spoken. It is a circle of friends sharing a common passion and also sharing their hearts and lives with one another. I am grateful to be the “leader” of this group where I discover, in fact, that it is I who am being led in the ways of the kingdom of God.
– Dan Kauffman