Monday, 23 February 2009

Coffee, milk and one sugar to go..

It was a freezing afternoon in November, an artic wind howling outside. I went outside for a smoke and I noticed across the square there was a taxi, with the bonnet open, broken down. The driver was sat inside most probably waiting for a breakdown truck to arrive.

I paid little attention to it, until the Lord suggested (that voice of conscience) that I go and ask him if he would like a hot drink; you would think he had asked me to sacrifice my first born son, such was my resistance. I was busy and could think of a litany of reasons not to bother. But after a brief wrestle, 3 falls and 1 submission I went inside and put the kettle on.

Crossing the square I wondered at the reaction I might receive from the cab driver. I tapped on the window. He was on the phone and kept me waiting, giving me the opportunity to appreciate just how cold it was becoming out there.

He opened the window and I explained that I noticed he had broken down and would he like a hot drink. He leapt from the cab rejoicing at my offer and thanked me so enthusiastically you’d think he won the lottery.

Somewhat relieved and having established his preference, I dashed back to make it and returned with mugs of coffee (in the best mugs) and we had a chat about diesel engines, getting air in the fuel line and quite a lot of his life story.

As we parted I was amazed to think at how Our Father in heaven, the creator of the universe, was still busy, in this instance giving his undivided attention to a stranded cab driver, seeing his needs but not merely as an observer; getting one of his children to go and attend to that need. Truly He is present in even the smallest details of life.

It puts me in mind of a story I heard from the end of the second world war when allied soldiers stationed in a bombed out village were asked to help out. The villagers asked them to re-build a statue that had taken pride of place in the main square but had been blown-up.

They set about collecting the pieces of broken statue and painstakingly putting it back together again. They found most of it, just a couple of pieces that could not be found, and they placed the completed work back in the main square, and covered it up so there could be a grand unveiling for the townsfolk.

When it was unveiled people were a bit shocked as their statue of Jesus had the hands missing. Underneath, the soldiers who had worked on it, placed a sign which reads “I have no hands. Won't you please lend me yours? "

We are His partners in reaching out to our brothers  and sisters.

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