As the priest stood on the dock waiting for the ship that would start him on his journey home, he wrung his hands nervously. As he did so he looked down at his hand and noticed some mysterious white spots. There was numbness, too. Almost immediately he know what was happening to his body. He had contracted leprosy!
With that disease he knew he would not be allowed to board the ship. No one ever got off the island with leprosy. So he trudged back up the hill. As word spread across the island that Father Damien had leprosy people began to gather outside his little hut. They understood his pain, the fear, and the uncertainly about the future.
The following Sunday the priest found hundreds of people gathered at the chapel. He stood and spoke to them saying, “My fellow lepers….”(1)
There was another minister who came to a people that were sick and dying without hope. St. Paul wrote about Him saying this Man, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the very highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)