I saw an old friend the other day. I smiled and waved hello, assuming that he would stop and acknowledge my existence. But I should have shouted my condition as an unclean leper, to the circle of friends that once sat beside me at the Table.
The tension hanging in the air like words left unsaid, non-verbal communication has solidified all that I hate about professional religious people. Fingers pointed, hushed whispers and manicured nails... Jesus fish on the bumper and pictures plastered on the Internet of you all hugging under the "One in Christ" banner at the local Christian music festival...
I am sustained by my neighbor, Bill. He is a gentle alcoholic, and an avid supporter of all things merciful. Sometimes he gets emotional, unashamed of his tears as he says, "You'll always have me!"
It's these fellow lepers (outcasts with criminal records and battle scars) who have colonized in solidarity with me during this season of shame and fear. In a drastic turn of the expected, I have found Jesus among these Samaritans, and they have offered me a seat at their table.