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we lepers

In 1866, part of the Hawaiian island of Molokai was designated as a leper’s colony.  Seven years later, a Catholic priest from Belgium, Father Damien, arrived.

Father Damien did more than simply administrate the colony.  During his time there, he built homes and churches for those who had been ostracized from society. Over his sixteen years there, Father Damien built 2,000 coffins by hand so that, when they died, the lepers could be buried with dignity.

Father Damien lived among those he served.  He ate with them, shared belongings with them.  In fact, he didn’t always wash his hands after attending to their open sores.  For his willingness to get close to them, the people loved him.

It has been said that during the time he served the leper colony that it went from being a place where one was sent to die to becoming a place to live.

Then one day he stood up and began his sermon with two words: “We lepers …”

He was no longer just helping them; Father Damien had become one of them.

When Jesus said from the cross, “I thirst,” it was a reminder that he had become one of us.  It was his way of saying, “We lepers.”

The story from Christmas to Easter is that we have a God who understands us.  The book of Hebrews reminds us we have a “great High Priest” who can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

So, don’t worry about approaching God with something he won’t understand.  Go before his throne with confidence!