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Hello, Jesus, it's me, Jim

A homeless man on a park bench
wore a tattered shirt bearing a stench.
He munched leftovers from garbage cans
with deep tanned face and unwashed hands.
He slept on a sidewalk heating vent,
pondering what life meant.

During the day at the Town Square
he avoided each condemning stare.
Every day at noon he would ply
to a large cathedral nearby,
To sit alone on the back seat –
a hungry homeless man from the street.

His eyes on the cross in front of him,
Not knowing how to pray, he said, “Hello Jesus, it’s me, Jim.”
The pastor saw the man from the street,
but they never had a chance to meet.
Then one day he noticed the empty pew,
Perhaps tomorrow he’d drift back through.

After the man was gone many days,
he wondered if he had gone away.
Later, while on a pastoral call
he met a nurse in the hospital hall.
“Come, see a man who has changed the whole staff,”
She said, suppressing tears with a laugh.

“Lately he has gone from door to door,
And has changed all of us on the floor.
“Doctors, nurses, patients – all are touched.
No one has affected us so much!”
In the patient’s room, he stood by the feet
of the homeless man from the street.

He saw a glow on his bright, washed face,
speaking so fast he could barely keep pace.
“One cold day I passed out down town.
When I woke I was hospital bound.
“I don’t know why I didn’t die.
In this room, when I opened my eyes,

“A man appeared, to my surprise,
Looking so calm, so holy and wise.
For quite some time he never spoke.
He just stood there in a long white cloak,
so peaceful at the foot of my bed,
and this is all he ever said,
‘Hello Jim, it’s me, Jesus.’”

Copyright © James Tate | Year Posted 2016

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