He looked up "no... never been in here before".I persisted "are you sure - you look familiar..." He smiled - "well they say I look like my father".
"And do I know your father...?"
He smiled again, this time revealing a stumpy nicotine stained set of teeth "oh yes you know him!"... "I know your Father...?" I was getting perplexed. I shook my head "I'm sorry but I'm not sure I do."
He was clearly enjoying this."Oh yes you do...!" he rolled his eyes upwards and gave me a knowing wink. Suddenly he dropped his voice "I've been before...this is my second time around" Clearly frustrated with my ignorance he grabbed my arm and while nodding to underline and affirm his words he moved too close and whispered "I... I am the..... Christ Child"
All I could muster was "Wow... well ... um" . "Don't worry I get that all the time..." I go and return with the food parcel. I'm not sure whether this was right or wrong of me but I had a burning question. "Tell me... how's your cousin doing...?" He looks up from checking the food "which one...?" ..."you know" I persist "the famous one?"
"the famous one....?" It was his turn to be confused. "yeah the famous one... you know famous for losing his head...!?"
Scratching his chin, he looked at me while searching his memory. Silence...then..."You mean Steven Davison..?" he said hopefully.
"Actually no... I mean John"
"John?... John who?"
Our eyes meet and now I move into his space and drop my voice "You know... John the Baptist?" The penny dropped - "oh him..."
"no... he's not around at the moment...?!!"
"No", I reply "but I know where he is ....he goes to my mates Salvation Army in Harlesden...!" [Good friend and collegue Ian has some great reflections on his John the Baptist]
We chat a bit more before we shake hands and he leaves.
Later within our afternoon service my mind wanders I smell my hand. Sitting there suddenly I am aware of Paul's nicotine, alcohol, dirt encrusted smell. I smile as I think of Paul Davison (AKA Jesus - the Christ Child). My eyes closed the smell evokes his stumpy nicotine smile... and some words ...
"I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me--you did it to me.' Matthew 25: 40 MSGHow many times do I fail to see Jesus in others?