Road Trip Letters #5

Dear Family,

You hurt me more than any other people I have ever known. Every time I press in to know you better, and love you with an intentional love, you shut me out. You kick me, gauge my eyes, rip my ears, and slit my throat. You relegate me to a lesser me. I enter in your company as a strong and confident man. But I have many a time left you a voiceless, deafened and visionless boy with crushed bones.

I am intent in loving you. I will always love you. But I will make this clear. I will not make my home with you if the conditions of our current engagement remains the same.

I do not want to live complacently in an atmosphere of dishonesty and shame-driven secrets.

I want to speak honestly and openly to you. I want us to embrace forgiveness and learn to be understanding. I want us to talk through things instead of ignoring and stuffing them.

I don’ want to shout and scream unless we are willingly, and readily, open to admit and forgive.

I do not want to live in fear. I want to be unafraid to say what’s on my heart. And I want to be humble enough hear what is on your heart too.   

I am restless in trying.

I cannot do the “he said-she said” bit. Let us speak face to face and heart to heart.

I yield my right to be independent of you. But I won’t sacrifice myself to overt abuse.

Please don’t shut me out. My intentions to clear the air are only to draw us closer. Let us mend the frayed stiches.

Here is my outstretched hand. I am extending an invitation for reconciliation.

Honesty is akin to be nakedness. Nakedness is akin to vulnerability. Vulnerability is akin to intimacy.

I am willing to bare all to receive the all- whatever that may be.

I long to be close to you- all of you. Me being truly who I am. And you being truly who you are.

I love you,

Friar   

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Road Trip Letters #4

To Sharon,

I am pretty sure you do not remember who I am but I want to thank you.  Thank you for being yourself. You are a beautiful human being.

I am the guy that drove off with the gas pump yesterday. Maybe now you remember?

Yeah I was laughing awkwardly the whole time. This is my default mode. Almost everything has a tinge of humor to me. So instead of despairing, worrying, or getting worked up I laugh in between my sentences.  

Well anyways, I just wanted to thank you for the way you handled the situation. You were courteous, kind, and graciously understanding. You turned the situation into a pleasant one by your demeanor and attitude. You and your coworkers displayed a wonderful representation of Iowa. You made a dark-skinned man like me feel at ease in a sea of white skin and cornfields. I am truly grateful for meeting you, albeit, a brief encounter.  

You are greatly loved,

Friar

Road Trip Letters #3

Dear Father,

I am embracing distraction. In both direct and indirect ways I have numbed myself. I am avoiding the inevitable.

I am avoiding the reality that at the end of this road trip I will be with my family. The end of this journey means the beginning of being with them. And being with my family is like everything else in life. It is both exuberantly wonderful and woefully painful.  

I rather skip out on the latter of the two experiences, but it always seems unavoidable to some degree.

Instead of numbing my heart Father, I will sit here and be still with You.

What beautiful gift do you have to give my family on this short stint? What gorgeous deposit of light would You like to offer to our bloodline?

Response: Give yourself. Give who you truly are.

My Response: So be it Lovely One.   

Give me the courage to love. Give me a pure and honest heart. Protect me and each person that I come in contact with. May blessings, instead of poison, flow from our lips and souls. May our hearts connect and may healing and life abound.

I love You fiercely. Have great pleasure with our family,  

Friar 

Road Trip Letters #2

To: My Little Brother

First I gotta say I am so incredibly proud of you. Second, I love you a whole lot! Third, enjoy every moment of this summer.

I trust that this letter is reaching you while you are on your “Solo”. I hope that you are reading this in the midst of nature and that you are enjoying the beauty therein. I hope that your companions are God, an incredible view, and a gentle crisp breeze.

I want to encourage you in this way while you are on your journey. Here are a few Words of Wisdom as you Walk through the Wilderness:

Embrace silence. Silence is more than golden. Silence will lead you to be attune with the Spirit of God like no other. Silence is where Our Father speaks most clearly. Learn to savor the sheer elegance of stillness. Know that when you stop speaking and start listening (solely for the sake of listening) you will meet God and others in the most intimate and noteworthy way.

Look for God in the most unexpected places and through the most unexpected people. God delights Himself and others by revealing Himself  with and in the seemingly improbable people and places. The adage is true in many ways, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. There are people you are meant to meet in the near future who have words of life and wisdom that you need. Don’t be fooled by appearance.

Fight for the things you love. What I mean by this, is that you should take life from a more offensive position than a passive position. Join God in being faithful and committed to people. Choose people before they choose you. Fight for them like the way God fights for you.

Be unafraid to love your God and narrow your audience. Do not be dissuaded or persuaded by the masses. Let God and God alone be your sole focus. Love Him first and then let your love for people and other things flow from that source.

Ask God the hard questions. Ask God the deep things of your heart. He is powerful and able enough to handle them. He’s been waiting to hear and respond.

Pray and Keep Praying. And while you are at it, pray about everything- this is how we connect to Our Father. God wants to journey with you in every aspect of your life. It’s what has He intended for us from the very beginning. He desires to walk closely with us, experiencing all facets of our lives.

These are the words I felt lead to share with you. Please ask the Lord to highlight what specific words you need for this time. Some may be for now. Some may be for later.

I am beyond excited for this leg of your journey. You are on the cusp of soaring over some high terrain. Do not be afraid of the heights that God will take you. You have always been designed to fly high with the Spirit of God. God will guide you through every facet of your life. Just lean on Him and trust Him.

I love you little brother. Let’s chat when you get back from this summer expedition and when I get back from my road trip (We’ll talk about that later as well).

May his peace be with you,

Friar

Road Trip Letters #1

Road Trip Letter #1

To Father:

I am heading to Denver today Padre. Although the flight is delayed, I am excited for this adventure. I am ready for a well-needed respite for this weary soul of mine. I’m tired of stressing myself out and second-guessing myself. I need some silence and stillness. And I need to step away from the stress that I have continually placed upon myself.

For some reason Father, I have heaped frustration upon frustration into the depths of my soul. I have both willingly and unwillingly accepted lies and fears into my life. I have become crippled by the presumed thoughts of others. My life has been dictated by the measuring stick of the people around me instead of what you have prescribed for me.

I have become unhealthy worried about about being successful. I feel as though I am not getting “straight A’s” according to the culture around me. According to the report card of the Western World and Western Church’s standards I am falling short in my endeavors. I hate that!

But F it!

F that!

On this trip Father I want you to re-center my heart to your truth. Realign my heart to your heart. Capture my gaze and attention. I narrow my audience to You and to the people that you have placed right in front of me.

I ask that Bobby and I will have a great time with You and with each other on this trip. Get us to New Jersey safely. Let us have incredible fun in between the final destination. Help me to get work done for Barnabas.

Speak to us in any way you want. Lead us to divine appointments. I want to become alive again to You and to the people have placed in my life.

Revive me,

Friar

Looking for Love?

Looking for Love?

There is an itch in my soul that I cannot seem to scratch.

There is a hollow within me that needs to be filled.

Spirit won’t you come and fill me with Your Wind?

 

And then He said to me:

Son, what you are seeking is Love.

 

And then I spoke back to Him:

Here am I. Here I am. I come with an insistent heart.

 

Teach me how to love.

 

Teach me how to love and be loved.

Teach me how to You and be loved by You.

Teach me how to love others and be loved others.

Teach me how to love myself and be loved myself.

 

He then said to me:

You know love.

You know how to love.

Start with the person in front of you.

 

Love the poor.

Love those who hate you.

Love those who do not love you.

Love those whose spirits are broken.

Lay down your life again and again and you will find life and love unspeakable.

Give yourself for the sake of Love, and in return you and without fail, Love will find you.

Be a Leader By Being a Courageous Follower

Pure Brilliance

The first time I saw this video, I knew it under a different title. I think it was called the Sasquash Dance party. In that video it showed this charismatic leader dancing and the resulting movement he created. I thought it was incredible back then.

But this new analysis, doh(though)! It was brilliant!

I couldn’t resist sharing this video. There were too many great things emanating from it. I could not stop smiling and laughing. The hilarity and simplicity of its content was so striking. There were two things I wanted us to gain from the video: The first is the  lessons we could learn from it. The second is the encouragement to be courageous followers.

Lessons we can learn

Whether this was done in pure jest or entertainment, there were many lessons that could be extracted from it. Here are but a few:

1. Leaders lead by leading.
2. Leaders also lead by following.
3. Leaders are gutsy. They step out in faith.
3. Leaders embrace simplicity.
4. Leaders are easy to follow
5. Leaders know how to follow.
6. Leaders are willing to follow.
7. Leaders teach others how to follow.
8. Leaders are the first to follow.
9. Leaders make sure outsiders see more than just the leader.
10. Leaders embrace others as their equals.
11. Leaders make everything about the movement.
12. Leaders embrace humility.

Be a Courageous Follower

The phrase that stuck out to me in this clip was , ” Be a courageous follower”. It is because of this phrase that I felt compelled to blog. I want to encourage us tonight/today to embrace the quality of following.

We all want to be a part of something big. Something that is larger than life. We want to be a part of a movement. A movement of significance that transforms our world and brings much needed peace into our lives.

I want to commission us, you and I, to be courageous followers. Let us be the type of leaders that follow the most unlikely people. Let us follow the people that society has forgotten, neglected, mistreated, and marginalized. Let the poor teach us the ways of wisdom. Let the brokenhearted teach us the ways of love and forgiveness. Let those with disabilities teach us what it means to be whole. Let us try a new path to revolution and transformation. Let’s make the least of these ,the lowly in the eyes of society, be the ones who show us the way freedom.

We’re not partying, this is just the way we live!

We're not partying, this is just the way we live!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Barnabas Prep, or Camp Barnabas, I want you to take a few minutes to look at the message written on the bus featured in this post. On it, there is a powerful quote and it says this:

“We’re not partying, this is just the way we live!”

Every time I see those words I smile. Without hesitation, I am caught quietly laughing to myself. And I honestly can’t help it. Every time I glance at that particular phrase it hits me. In that moment, there is an unspeakable joy and laughter that rolls over my soul.

I smile at first because the saying is so true of our community. I smile secondly because I always wonder what people think when they see us. Especially, people who are parked right behind us and then view us exiting the vehicle. I smile, lastly, when I think of how many times we have allowed people to enter into the party and the joy they have received from us- and us from them.

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About a week and a half ago this saying was put on display and was illuminated like no other. It happened on the dance floor- a fitting place for us to party.

We were on our spring break cruise to Mexico. We were doing what we typically do. We were enjoying life, enjoying each other, and enjoying others around us.

Then one of our students, Jerryd, was caught by the dancing bug. Mind you, at this time there was scant a person on the dance floor. But on his own he started dancing. He started melting away into the rhythms of the night. His hips didn’t lie so the ladies had to comply. And the next thing you know he had a dance partner.

Now, I can’t quite remember all the details about how it happened next. But something about Jerrdy’s infectious dancing begat more invitations to the dance floor. The invitations kept on coming and more people were lost into the rapturous festivities.

Person after person entered into the dance space. Within a few minutes the masses were birthed. People of all backgrounds were partying together- experiencing the joys of movement, laughter, fun, rhythm, love, and the shear beauty of being together.

There was a standstill moment that captured my heart while we partying together. It was the kind of moment that is featured in movies. A scene where time stops. A moment when you can see everything clearly.

For me, it was a moment where I was overcome and overwhelmed with unbelievable satisfaction. In that moment people were just people. We were people who were enjoying each others company. There were no were classifiers of race, disability, social status or anything of the sort. Differences were embraced and accepted.

It was a lovely moment. And I long to see more of them.

I pray tonight that we all would throw ourselves a little further into the dance floor of life. May we embrace the rhythms of love a be compelled to dance with each other.

I pray that we would dance with our differences and diversity. I pray that we enjoy each other presence and share each others pain- no matter how the contrast of expereince.

I pray that we would party hard- because that’s the way we live!

Friar Francis

Uganda Reflection: I love being a dark-skinned, brown, black man!

Uganda Reflection:

(The Picture of above is with Pastor Joel Bukenya, a man a greatly admire and respect!)

Uganda Reflection: I love being a dark-skinned, brown, black man!

Uganda had a wonderful way of surprising me continuously. One of the most pleasant surprises that I experienced was the healing of my skin condition. The condition of being black in the States. The condition of having dark-skin in America.

Now, when I say healing, I simply mean that I can say this with confidence “I love being a dark-skinned, brown, black man!” Being dark is an incredible blessing!

You see, while in Uganda, I was afforded the opportunity to step away from the negative imagery of blackness in the States. And I was granted the gift of embracing the loveliness of being dark-skinned.

My experience in Uganda shed light on an inner conflict.

In the States

In the States, at the subconscious level, there is always a war going on within me about my darkness- my blackness. It is not a war that overtly hampers my daily life but nonetheless it is a struggle.

In the States I fight against falling prey to the negative stereotypes. The ones that our media portrays of black people- especially of black men. All around me there are tokens of expression that say black equals less than, ignorant, threatening, and dangerous. I know, of course this is not true, but the messages are relentless.

In the States I fight myself about my own skin color. The question I sometimes ask is this: Am I black enough?

There are often times where I have not felt black enough for other black people. In particular, among those who are of my own skin color, I have been cited as too white. Or better yet, “You sound white.” What does that mean? And what does that mean about what makes a black person black?

Does it go beyond the skin color?

Conversely, among white people, sometimes I am too black. This is rare, though. In some cases my blackness comes as a liability, a threat, and an unwelcomed feature. Seeing past my character, there have been some who have made judgments solely on my skin color.

But in the same breath, some white people, also don’t think I am black enough. They quote me as not, “being like other black people”, or, “You are not really black”. They relegate me to having the Oreo Syndrome. You know, black on the outside, white on the inside. As an “Oreo” I wouldn’t be classified as one “those” black people- the ones that we see on television or hear on the radio. This further perpetuates the negative image.

To make it a little more complicated, let’s throw in one more thing.  In the States there is also an awkwardness I have because of my ethnic heritage as well. I am a Jamaica-born man who was raised in South Florida. Due to this complexity I have also run into multiple issues because of the cultural differences of my blackness.

But, like I said, these issues are not detrimental to my daily life. It is mostly an inward conflict. The damage this inner angst has caused has primarily affected my identity. The chief problem is that I cannot fully appreciate my dark skin as I would like to.

However, Uganda, changed a lot of that. Being in Africa was a freeing experience! There, my blackness was honored, appreciated, and normal. I loved that!

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In Uganda

In Uganda, from my first step, I entered into a whole new worldview of my darkness.

For starters, it was the most incredible feeling to be engulfed in sea of dark-skinned people. It was the first time in a very long time where I was a part of the majority. And I don’t mean Atlanta majority- I mean er’ body was black. Like 99.79 percent.

Everywhere we went there were all shades of dark skin.  Consequently, I quickly became comfortable in my own skin. In fact it made me wonder, is this how white people feel on a daily to basis in the States? Comfortable? Relaxed? At home?

I’m not gonna lie. It was kind of nice to just melt away in the crowd for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks. Just to be one of the many black people. Normal. Not a minority. Not an aberration.

Although I did like that feeling, the real healing came from living and doing life with my Ugandan brothers and sisters.

In Uganda I experienced almost the complete opposite of my inner battle in the States.

In Uganda my brothers and sisters took my blackness as an automatic commonality. It was a positive thing. Right away they said, “Welcome home”. There was so much meaning in that. I cannot begin to tell you how much that meant.

There is a holistic wave of peace and wholeness that a black person feels when they return to Africa. Especially when they return home for the first time.

Coming home feels good.

I was at home. I felt at home. I truly belonged.

I did not have to work for it. I did not have to prove anything. I was dark-skinned and that was good enough.

What made this even more delightful was that my Ugandan family gave me a Ugandan name. In fact they gave me two names- there will be more about that in another post. It was more than just an expression of mere kindness. It was a reminder that I was a part of something bigger and grander.

In Uganda I was floored by the character of black people everywhere I went. This place did not follow the protocol of Western media. Everywhere I went, both in the Christian community and other communities, I was greeted by people who dismantled the American stereotype of black people- in particular black men.

In Ugandan I experienced hospitality so wonderful that I could cry. There were black angels everywhere. Almost everywhere we went people were so kind, so open, so giving and so loving.

People were incredibly welcoming. And they were so gracious and loving to foreigners- those who looked different than themselves. My teammates on my trip were all white but they were treated so well. People gave them their babies to hold, their homes to live in, and their hearts share, even without knowing them.

I’m sure if we looked further in to the fabric of Ugandan culture we would see some of the negatives but I was too overwhelmed by the goodness to notice it.

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In particular, the black men that I met in Kampala and Jinja were of full of utmost integrity and humility. They had such incredible character. The men I met were men who thought way beyond themselves. In their hearts and in their actions they were concerned about generations. Their minds were on the well-being and prosperity of their nation and their children’s children’s children. Their hands, work, and actions matched what they believed. They lived far above and greater than the pettiness of today!

These men were true fathers. Not only were they fathers to their own biological children but they were fathers to the fatherless. Their scope of family and togetherness was unrivaled. And the wisdom that the possessed was akin to the lineage of Solomon.

As a man who grew up without my father, my heart was beyond filled with joy and admiration. These men are my heroes.

Day after day I grew to love my skin color more and more because these men and women were living a life that I aspired to live.

All in all I left Uganda proud! I was proud to be black. I was proud to be a Christ-follower. Although my primary identity is a son of God and Christ-follower, it was definitely a nice bonus to enjoy my skin color too!

It was such a blessing to be around great people. In general it was great to know that there are men and women of God doing great things across the seas. But it was extra special, in this particular time of my life, to see that these people were ones with dark skin. They were people, people with my skin color, that were peeling away the stereotypes, prejudices, and misconceptions that pervade throughout many societies.

There is so much more I can say on the subject but I will stop here for now. I am very grateful for this healing and blessing. It was so simple and yet so profound.

Questions of the Day

Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do like all the features that God gave you?

Let me know your thoughts. Let share our experiences.

I love you friends. Thanks for taking the time to hear my thoughts.

Friar Francis

Uganda: Day 1

Uganda: Day 1 

Hey Friends,

I am so glad you are joining me on this journey of reflection. Webale Nyo! (“Thanks so much” in Luganda). Welcome to Day 1!

New Years 2014!

As you can tell from the video, we arrived on New Years Eve and jumped into the heart of New Year’s Celebration in Uganda. It’s crazy to think that I spent New Year’s Eve in two different countries and continents, shifting from the Netherlands in the morning to Uganda at Night.  And it was even more baffling to think that my first two few weeks of 2014 was to be spent in the continent of Africa!

Now let me tell you, New Year’s in Uganda is the real deal.  Everywhere we went there was a party or some sort of celebration! It was crazy to see how packed the streets were. Every corner was flooded with people. The atmosphere of the night and early morning was electric. It was such a sight to behold. One could not help but be excited.

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I am in Uganda… How Surreal is that?

Although excitement and celebration were not short supply all around me, I found myself quiet, reflective, and inward. It wasn’t that I was tuning out the festivities. Rather, I was tuning into something deep within my heart. God had truly answered the desire of my heart. I was finally in Uganda. I  was finally in Africa.

That moment was inexplicably surreal.

Ever since I was little kid I have dreamt of that moment. And there I was, sitting in a vehicle with Americans and Ugandans driving from Entebbe to Kampala. I felt like a little kid. My senses were easily overloaded. The best I could do was sit there- and take it in. Deep within my heart I just kept on saying, ” Thank You God, Thank You God”.

Due to the fact that we came in late and that the roads were inconceivably congested, we had to forego our original plan of going to a New Year’s celebration at a stadium. Many Ugandans gather together, pray, and worship by the thousands in these stadiums. They come in unity from all over the region and from various denominations in hopes of ringing in the New Year with style- Holy Spirit style. Included in the celebration is much dancing and praising!  Although we missed that particular opportunity, we had several opportunities to experience something similar later on.

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Mosquito Net

I don’t know why this bugged me out, pun unintended, but the fact the were sleeping in Malaria nets tripped me out! It was another level of surrealness to me. Many realities were made real to me in that simple moment. I am was going to bed in Kampla, Uganda that night.

Question of the day:

What has been one of your surreal moments in your life? Either with travel or with life in general?

Here are some random Pics from Day One:

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That’s all for now. Join me for the next post. Enjoy your weekend friends!

Friar Francis

I am back!!!

I am back!!!

Hey Friends and Family,

I am finally back home!

Embracing the bittersweet feeling

It is something of a bittersweet feeling to be back home. A recent Facebook post sums up my feelings on this conundrum quite well. I said this:

” … My heart is full … To say this moment is bittersweet is to take hold of an inadequate term and claim as the whole truth … The truth is that I will fully miss Uganda and I am fully excited to return home and live more vibrantly … (Sigh)…”

My heart has been grafted to my family in Uganda and it will be evident in the way I will now love and live with my family and friends in the States. I have learned so much and I have experienced a lifetime’s worth of joys and wonders during my time in the Pearl of Africa. I am more than ready to share that with you guys.

So…. How was it? What was your experience like in Uganda?

Yes, my friends. This has been the running question of the last few days.

Curious minds want to know.

And this guy wants to answer those questions.

So, I have decided to utilize my blog as my place and space to answer these questions. In the next few days I will begin my attempt to give reflection(s) on my journey/our journey in East Africa. I say slash “our journey” because I went with a team. There were seven of us travelling with Forgotten Song. I, however, will primarily be writing from my personal perspective.

To give myself frame work, I will try to blog about each particular day’s events, highlights, and lessons. In between these I will write stand-alone essays, reflections, thoughts, and lessons that were profound to me.

Bear with me though. Some of this may turn out disorganized and messy. But that makes it more authentic to me. And I think you will appreciate it.

I also want this to be interactive. So please, please talk to me. Whether it is through this blog, phone calls, meeting up with me, or through some other media outlet. Although, i don’t drink coffee, let’s meet for coffee and chat!

You can also join me on Instagram and Facebook. My name is Friar Francis on there as well.

On many of my posts I will be asking questions in hopes for answers and dialogue. I want to learn from your experiences as well. This is my gift to you. This is your gift to me.

To begin with the dialogue. Here is the questions of the day:

What has been one of the most profound trips/experiences of your life? Why? 

I am answering this question through this blog. Maybe you should the same. What’s YOUR answer to this question?

Thank You SO SO SO SO Much!!!!

The last thing I want to say in this post is this: Thank You soooooooooooooooooo Much friends and family!!!

There were so many of you that made this trip/adventure/experience-of-a-lifetime-possible. You gave me your encouragement, your gifts, your time, your money, your kind words, and much much more. I am from the bottom of the bottom of my heart grateful.

Throughout my time of blogging in the next few weeks I want to make shout outs to you all. Today I want to start with Little Voice Talks.

Little Voice Talks is one of my dear blog friends. Although we have never met in person I am greatly honored to know her. She may not know it but she has been a great source of encouragement for this trip – and life in general.

I will never forget these words, “Donated. Go for your life. Do God’s will. I’m proud of you even if we’ve never met xx”. We have never met in person but she gave of her words, time, love, finances, and faith in order to see me advance in my life. Words can not express my gratitude!

Those words along with prior messages have been encouraging down to the core!

I thank God for you “Little Voice Talks”! I pray God’s richest blessings over your life. May you and your family receive a bounty of grace, peace, prosperity, and joy today!

Please check out her blog  here. Give her a shout out and encouragement. She is blessing to so many!!!

I love you all dearly!!!

Remember that you are greatly loved,

Friar Francis

Three Little Words

A few word can make a difference

My soul is arrested and held captive by three little words- You are loved. More specifically, Jesus loves me. I know this to be true, but why do I continually wrestle with this?

That is a question, I cannot and will not answer in this moment. However, I do know and believe this to be true. And I agree there is power in hearing, giving, receiving, and experiencing these words…

About a week ago I had a soul-haunting scene speak volumes on this dilemma of my inner man. While spending time in Lakeland, I got the pleasure to stroll around Lake Hollingsworth almost every morning and evening. It was a special time that I spent alone with God meant for prayer, silence, relaxation, detoxing, and for taking pictures of the beautiful scenery.

With these objectives in mind, I ambered my way around the lake in a contemplative fashion. Each step was an attempt to get closer to God and free from myself from stress. On one of these strolls, in the evening, while utterly stressed, and distressed, I had an encounter. I don’t know if my face showed it, but a man passing the opposite direction arrested me with the aforementioned three words.  He passed me and delivered these words in a way that has shaken me for days. He looked directly in my eyes and said in a very quiet and meek tone, “Jesus loves you”.

The words alone had power. But it was the delivery. The delivery really reached me.

I have heard those words before so many times. And I have said them countless times as well. But for some reason in that moment I was hearing them afresh.

To sweeten this moment even more was the fact that I ran into the same man again. You see the lake that I walked around is about 3 miles long. So, this afforded me another opportunity to run into this man. This is exactly what happened.

It was so funny too! I had the same reaction. I was taken aback and unprepared. The second encounter was as intense, and yet mild, as the first. Again this unknown man spoke past my exterior into the core of my being.

Sometimes I have to yield my heart to this crazy truth. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves you.

And sometimes He goes out of the way in small, still, and unexpected moments to stop us dead in tracks. He calms the storm and allows the dust to settle. Or he meets us in the fire and fury. He finds us and takes us aside and says, “I love You”. Or he speaks through his sons and daughters and tells us, “Jesus loves You”.

Maybe under further inspection I might find that Jesus is doing this sort of thing to us all the time. We may just be blind to it. And maybe, just maybe, there are other people that are sharing this sentiment of love with us constantly. We might be too shrouded with business to see it clearly.

Well if that’s the case..

I have three words to give you this morning, noon, and evening …

Jesus Loves You.

Friar Francis