CBF Virginia / General CBF / Internationals Ministries

“To the Dentist with Jesus”

Yes, that was indeed my calendar entry on a recent day. I did a double-take and couldn’t help but chuckle. But it was true! I was taking a Mexican man named Jesús to the dentist that day.

Many times, we English-speakers disregard the importance of that little tilde, the “accent mark” that appears in Spanish over certain vowels. But it can totally change the meaning of a word, like esta cosa (this thing) or está acá (it’s here). Esta and está are different words.

Or, in this case, it can affect how we actually understand and perceive a word, like Jesús or Jesus.  While Jesús is a relatively common name in Latin America, its popularity doesn’t often extend to the American-born population. We rarely encounter anyone actually named Jesus.

But the calendar entry that day made me stop and think about my own theology and the truth of these words. I believe that the spirit of God dwells in the lives of each of the persons with whom I work. Some people recognize or acknowledge God’s presence in their lives, others do not.  But that doesn’t mean that God isn’t there.

I thought back over the last few weeks and the frequent medical and dental appointments I had had with my clients. Diabetic education with Maria. Oral surgery with Dustin and his mom. Foot surgery with Laura. Ingrown toenail treatment with Naomi. Follow-up for high blood pressure with Trinidad. An eye exam, blood tests, x-rays and labs and pharmacies. With clients aged 5 to 75, from countries as diverse as Uruguay, Honduras, and Mexico.

And finally, to the dentist with Jesús.

Jesus was at the dentist that day, in the presence of the doctor and staff who attended to Jesús. They treated him with dignity and respect regardless of his ability to speak English or pay in full for his treatment. Jesus was with us in the car driving to and from the visit, helping me to explain why this Christian dentist would donate his services to help this 53-year-old Spanish-speaking immigrant who had only been to the dentist once in his life and was in pain that day. And Jesus was present in the life of Jesús himself, who recognized God’s care and concern for him through average folks who put their faith in practice and follow Jesus in their everyday lives.  We truly are the presence of Christ in the world!

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