My husband and I recently returned from a week long vacation to Vancouver, BC. The distance and cheap ticket provided us with basically two full travel days- one at each end of the trip, and a lot of airport time. One can only read so much before inevitably being sucked into "people watching". I think I probably take in about 15 people per minute, though often dwelling longer on those I feel drawn to over analyze due to interesting shoes, books, or family dynamics. It's pretty pathetic but the stories I contrive in my head about these strangers are quite elaborate. Partly I am simply fascinated by the diversity, partly I judge and feel pretty good about myself in comparison, and partly I get sad. But at one point, at the end of our trip, as I was staring down more people as we waited to board our final flight, I looked at my husband and asked, "What would go through Jesus' head in an airport?" How different would it be from what goes through mine? Where would his mind wander to? In short, how are we to "see" people and how does Jesus "see" us?
Here is a short list of what I'm coming up with, and a challenge to come up with your own.
I trust that Jesus would see difference. He would see man/woman, Jew/non-Jew, rich/poor, but He would not be limited by these categories. My categories so often lead me to quick judgement based on supervicialities. I believe that He would actually be able to see beauty, and particular beauty in the unique way that each person embodies God's goodness. He would identify a family resemblance between his Father in heaven and his sisters and brothers on earth.
As the shepherd who goes after lost sheep (Matthew 9:36) and as the Savior who approaches Jerusalem and weeps over it (Luke 19:41), I can imagine his sadness in an airport as well. I suspect He would feel a measure of empathy and pain which demands a vision that I so infrequently have.
And I imagine he would see them as his brother. He knows what it is like to be human. He made his dwelling among us (John 1), and "taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."(Phil. 2:7) His posture toward them, even as one who is exalted in the highest place, would be one of kindredness.
And it goes without saying that I imagine love would be under, over, behind and infusing this vision. He would "see" and he would love.
The point of all this is not to berate myself for being more intrigued many times with cool shoes. Or to imagine that I can travel through an airport and feel the pain and behold the beauty of the human population. But as a parent of a child with Down's Syndrome, I find myself just about daily asking God to continue his process of teaching me how to "see" our child as He sees her, to free me from cultural norms, and to understand in a deeper way how he "sees" all of his children so that I too might love a bit more like He does.