I’ve just been reading a wonderful book called: “The Garbage King” by Elizabeth Laird – it’s about street children in Ethiopia and their lives on the street.
The children have a terrible time without adults to help and support them, but somehow they survive and even thrive in their very tough circumstances.
The book shows how harsh life is for so many children in the world – and as I write, many are coping again with the terrible circumstances of an African famine in the midst of adult fighting.
The title: “The Garbage King” is given to a boy who is good at scavenging from a rubbish dump. But the title also made me think of Jesus, as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter.
His mission was to seek and to save the lost. Jesus was an expert at befriending the outcast and the sinner. He had no airs and graces that meant he kept away from “undesirables” – like street children, beggars, and people of the street.
Jesus rubbed shoulders with the poor and destitute and made many his friends. His behaviour got him into trouble with the powers that be – who couldn’t believe that someone who set himself up as a teacher could associate with the “garbage of society”. Jesus not only delighted in associating with such people, he also championed their cause and forever challenged those whose policies kept them in their squalor.
The upshot was that Jesus: “The Garbage King” got himself banged up, falsely charged and sentenced to execution – and all for demonstrating the love of God.
Jesus died on what was probably the local rubbish tip also known as “the place of the skull”. He hung on a cross – a place of public shame – but his death was not the end of “The Garbage King”.
Easter Day (16th April) stands as wonderful day of celebration – when “The Garbage King” came back to life – to live again and to challenge us all in our values and attitudes to God and our fellow human beings. Jesus: the champion of all those whom others consider as “garbage” and Jesus the One who challenges us to make them our priority too.