Jesus and I set out walking down a country lane, out in open fields of wild green grasses and rolling hills. The dirt path led us through the country side, past small farm houses, stables, trees and ponds.
"Why are we walking here together Jesus?"
"To see the truth," he told me in a light-hearted, yet deeply sincere manner.
The path led us into a quaint little town with cottages and cobblestone streets. As we passed through, he greeted all that wet encountered.
"Hello Maartin," he said with a shining smile. "That's the town butcher," he explained. "Anna, how are your little ones?" he asked as we walked by the seamstress shop. He even greeted the drunken Alfred, lazily sprawled on the park bench in the town square.
"You see Tiffany, these are my little ones, and I love them, each and every one."
We followed the road as it led us out of that happy little town, and soon we were approaching a much busier place. It was a hustling, bustling city filled with bridges over canals, and tall buildings built in classic, old architectural styles. People were headed to and fro, all on their own agendas. They took no notice of Jesus, but he knew them just as well.
"That's Susanne. She's a successful business woman now. She's got a husband and two kids at home. She knew me as a little girl...my how she's grown up. How I do love her."
We continued through the busy streets and as we became immersed in the city center, the people seemed to change, as did the businesses that inhabitted the buildings. The streets seemed to darken and there was a deep and desparate perversion lingering heavily in the air.
We kept on, walking further into that strange place. A woman with festering sores on her face approached us, groping for spare change. Jesus reached out, his hand meeting hers, and as she received his love, she smiled gratefully, revealing a toothless grin. Passing by window shops, we saw scantily clad women selling, not the lingerie, shoes, or accessories they adorn, but the very bodies that adorn them. Jesus knew the heartbreaking story of each one. He knew how this beloved had been tricked into false promises of a career as a fashion model, and how that precious one had fallen victim to the talon grip of drug addiction. Junkies, pimps, tourists and shop patrons lined the streets, and Jesus knew and loved each and every one of them more deeply than they could ever know.
After we had seen all of these, Jesus turned to me, looked deep into my eyes, and said,
"Do not be afraid of these, for they are mine and I love them. And you are mine, and I love you. We are all members of one body. Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me, the one they do not know. How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them? And how can they tell others unless they are sent? Therefore go, I tell you, for they do not know me, and it is I they desperately need to know."