Sunday, March 27, 2011

I met Jesus on the train

This is from 6.5 years ago

Was going to a youth group to speak, and as is my custom here in Australia I got on the train. Went a few stops and had to switch trains at Spencer st station. Waiting for my next train I saw Jesus sitting there waiting for the same train.
He was drunk, cussing at people, muttering under his breath and smoking. He took long pulls off of his liter beer bottle. Everyone tried to stay out of his way. I was staying close just in case he did something stupid. His nose had been broken a few times it seemed so I was ready to step in and defend the public if necessary.

He got on the same train, and I made sure I sat in the same carriage to ensure Jesus didn't get unruly or hurt anyone. He made some remarks, and tried to talk to some people around him, but they got up and moved to a different part of the train. I was, trying to think about my sermon that night, but was keeping one eye on him the whole time.

I wasn't really sure what to share. I thought about my sermon "why are you standing there gazing into the heavens", I was originally going to go with that one, but something didn't feel right. Then I was going to talk about the rich young ruler, the one I usually use at youth groups, but that seemed wrong too. I was thinking about the great white throne judgement, that one seemed like the right one. But I really couldn't zone in on it, because I was busy trying to keep an eye on this drunk.

A group of Asian young people came in and sat all around him. He wasn't happy. He was obviously a bit racist. He talked to them a bit, but they ignored him. I was getting ready to throw him off the train. He was smoking, which was not allowed and drinking, which is not allowed, and being beligerent which is...

not allowed.

At each station I scanned the platform for an attendant to "turn in" this obvious criminal to. Jesus didn't seem like someone anyone would want to hang out with. At the next station the kids all got up and switched to the next carriage on the train. He was furious, and was cussing and carrying on. I was getting ready to finally do something. He caughed, vomitted a little and then spilled his beer. More people moved to other seats.

Then he turned around and started staring at me. I don't usually look away, and didn't this time. I was starting to wonder when it was gonna take off, but then I started to recognise him. Then my sermon started to remind me of who he was. He yelled at me, "where are we at" I told him where we were. He said "how long to Ringwood" I told him about thirty minutes, that was my stop as well. "my dad just died" And then I fully realised Jesus was on the train with me.

I got up and went and sat next to him. We talked a bit. He told me he had to carry his fathers coffin, and he carried his mothers a few years earlier. He rolled another cigarette. He started complaining about the kids that moved to the other carriage. "I didn't f*ckin do nothin to them, they don't have no respect, you're a good bloke john" His name was John as well as mine. "the two johns" he said.

He told me about how he was a builder, and worked his whole life. He admitted he had a drinking problem, but he said, "they don't know what happened to me, my dad died, and no one will talk to me, except you, you're a good bloke" I could only reply, "thanks mate".

I held the door for him at the train station, he took a long time to stagger off. I walked with him up the ramp to make sure he was okay. He told me thanks for talking to him, I thanked him for sitting with me. I told him to take care of himself, and he said the same. We shook hands and I looked deep into his eyes, I saw my creator there. Jesus said to me, "aw f*ck this, give us a cuddle" So I stood on the train platform hugging Jesus. A white, broken nosed, drunk, racist, smelly Jesus, who was going by the name of John today. I walked away crying.


I hope you see Jesus today, I rode the train with him.

the rev