Centerport United Methodist Church
The Pastor's message comes from the March issue of our monthly church newsletter - The Focus.


Looking Like Jesus:

A Story for Lent


    Stan was a successful executive who worked long hours. For years, he had resisted giving control of his life to God. He and his wife were at opposite ends of the religious spectrum, she a devout believer, he an unbeliever. Daily she prayed for Stan to become a Christian, but the prayers seemingly were never answered. Stan had no time for God.


When his wife got cancer and faced surgery, Stan had nowhere to turn. In the waiting room of the hospital, he saw a nurse with a black cross on her forehead. “What’s that for?” he asked. She explained that she was a Christian and that she had just come from Ash Wednesday services at her church. “We Christians are on a Lenten journey to remember the importance of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection,” she said. “Ashes are for remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross.”


Stan sat quietly for a long time as he waited for news from the doctor about his wife’s surgery. Then he remembered a prayer he had been taught as a child. “Our Father in heaven,” he began. He stopped praying and realized how foolish he had been by living in this world as if that’s all there is. He had built up treasures on earth but had no treasures in heaven. In prayer, he turned as much of himself over to Jesus Christ as he understood.


At the time he didn’t know much, but he experienced an awakening. Gradually a sense of peace came over him.


When Stan’s wife was released from the hospital with the encouraging news that the surgery had removed the cancerous tumor, Stan surprised her by saying that he wanted to start attending church with her. There he found a hospitable Christian community and a pastor whose preaching he liked. Stan started on a faith journey.

One day, while shaving, he looked in the mirror and said, “I’m not the man I ought to be. Dear God, I’ve started this spiritual journey, but I’m still a long way from what I ought to be. Today let me be more Christ-like in my actions.”


By the time he said good-bye to his family, Stan was running late to catch his train into the city. He ran as he got to the platform. Suddenly, he felt a bump. His briefcase had hit something.


Stan looked back as he ran. There on the train platform he saw a little girl who was bending down picking up pieces of a puzzle that were scattered everywhere. He shouted over his shoulder, “Sorry, little girl. I’m sorry I bumped you.”


Then he stopped running. He turned and quietly walked back to the little girl. “Sorry,” he repeated, bending one knee down on the platform.


“I was in too much of a hurry. I didn’t see you.” The “All aboard” call was heard, but Stan kept working on the scattered puzzle pieces. The train pulled away from the station.


When Stan and the little girl finished their job of getting all the pieces back in the box, he said, “There, we got them all.”


As he turned to walk away, the little girl called to him, “Mister.”


Stan stopped and looked down at her.


“Mister,” she repeated, “are you Jesus?”


Not a bad person to be confused with. Not a bad way to spend our time, putting the pieces of our lives and those around us back together again.


Lent offers a beautiful opportunity to discover the mystery of Christ within us. By giving ourselves to his way, we may end up looking a little like him, too.







           ~Pastor Roy

Pastor Roy at the Blessing of the Animals service.