Check-out line theology

"Can I get the loyalty card discount?" he asked the kid at the register, "I had one like ten years ago, but I don't know where it is anymore." He went in on in gravelly voice from decades of smoking.
The helpful kid responded, "Just type in your phone number."
"Ahh. I don't know which number it went with. Can you just give me the discount for all these groceries?"

The guy in the cart before me was husky, not fat, not stout either. He was in his 50's. His thick black hair was slicked back. He had two rings on his left hand, both skulls. He was buying a bunch of bottled water, packaged sausages, rolls, condiments. He also had a duffel bag with him, and bought another bag for the ride home, probably on his motorcycle.

I was judging him. No card, no discount buddy. When he got the discount, I resented all those times when I was at other stores and did not get a discount. My excuses of being from out of town or whatever legitimate reason did not get me any mercy. I also did not have skull rings on my fingers. Just get your stuff and move on out.

I wish I could report this happened decade ago in my more immature days. Nope. It was this week. I've been reading Richard Rohr's book Simplicity for the past few weeks. He is a Franciscan priest who shares his journey in the Franciscan life of belief in action, loving others and being loved by God. His theology is also open handed and was such an encouragement to me. He writes much about our tendency to ignore the sermon on the mount, to not turn the other cheek, to esteem ourselves above others, to not love our enemies, to ignore Jesus' example and not live like he did while still saying we follow him. Obviously, Rohr's influence on my was only eyeball deep.

A few days later, I'm praying. I'm trying to focus on Jesus. When I visualize him though, he usually looks like this. He is very white, and he is hanging out with other white people. I'm trying to resist that approach though.

One of the topics Rohr keeps coming back to is Jesus' story about how he is served when people serve the least among them - children, widows, orphans, infirm, prisoners. All of them, as Mother Teresa says, are Jesus in distressing disguise. I then realized I had missed Jesus in the check out line. I had an opportunity to help Jesus out. I could have offered my loyalty card for him. I could have at the very least refrained from judging him. I knew I had an image of Jesus to focus on in my time of prayer and meditation.

If Jesus is still using the same disguise, you will notice him with the two skull rings buying a bunch of food for a party. I missed him. But if you see him, say "Hello" for me and "Sorry."


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