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March 1, 2015

I was walking home from church on a Sunday morning and an old woman called me from her front yard.  She was a widow and had only one son who went to work in a big city.  Once in a blue moon her son sent her some support otherwise she lived on the charity of villagers. The woman was bad tempered and unkempt, and people generally tried to avoid her.  I knew of her, but really didn’t know her and at the same time she knew of me too. On that day, however, she extended an offer of morning tea.  I hesitated.  “Father, is it because I’m old and dirty that you never come to visit me?”  The woman asked.  Again I hesitated, but then informed her that I was expected at home for certain business.  The woman repeated, “Is it because I’m old and dirty that you won’t come into my house?”  This time I followed her in.

Her hut (not a house and not bigger than your single car garage) was filthy and bug-infested.  The floor was full of dirty stuff.  The woman led me into the back where the dishes were piled to the roof.  “Father, will you drink a cup of tea with me?”  She asked.  Once again, I hesitated.  And once again the old lady moaned, “Is it because I’m old and dirty?”  “Alright!”  I said.  “I’ll drink your tea.”

She removed a cup from the dirty stack of dishes, filled it with tea made maybe hours before and handed it to me.  As I looked into the dirty contents of the cup, I could still hear the woman’s nagging words in my ears.  Then suddenly, my mind took me back two thousand years to a lonely garden spot and to another cup and to the Savior who said, “Not my will, but yours be done,” and he drank that cup to its bitter end.

The cup was filled with my sins and yours.  It was the cup of suffering and shame and bitter death; yet Jesus drank it to the very last drop.

After an hour of hearing her story, mostly complaining about her life and her neighbor, I left with a heavy heart.  I came back the next day bringing her some food and a big bag of tea.  This time she gave me a big smile (people there don’t hug, you know, otherwise she would give me one!) I believed that she was happier when someone just paid attention and listened to her.  How many people like that lady did you ever meet in your life?  Do you have the courage to drink a dirty cup of yours, and of your brothers and sisters? 

“If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else” (Rom 8: 32).