“I Was Happy and You Visited Me”
Thursday afternoon, my wife, Judge Denise Page Hood was made the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Michigan. Her tenure began officially on January 1, 2016. Yesterday I shared remarks my father made at her official ceremony of investiture. I also posted my benediction. Today, I would like to reflect upon one of my observations during the last few days. Several friends, family and colleagues from different stages in Denise’s life have made their way to Detroit to share their joy in this moment with Denise. I have been telling people that this is so much better than a funeral because while at a funeral families and friends gather together, but the sadness of the moment sticks a pin in the joy of being together with family and friends that you might not see all the time.
When Jesus gave the requirements for entering the kingdom of heaven he gave a very specific list of things that God expects of each of us: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, the visit those who are sick and in prison. Each of these expectations start from the premises that the believer is to reach down and help those who are hurting. I think that if we asked the good Lord to “Flip the script” he would add that it is also a good and loving thing to show up and celebrate with those who are happy. My father in law scolded me once when I skipped attending a family funeral with these words, “Nick, you have to know when to show up!” He was so right! We do have to know when to show up! “Showing up” should not just be limited to those times when someone is sad and hurting, but also when they are happy.
Matthew 25: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 
Questions for Reflection:
- If you were to experience a great honor or joy, who would you like to show up and share the moment with you?
- Why do you think Jesus did not include “When I was happy you showed up to share my joy?”
Lord, teach me to know when to show up and share the joy with my friends. Help me to know what is most important in life. Humble my pride that I might be able to lift up in joy others who are in celebration of special moments in life. Teach me not to be jealous of others. Make me big enough to celebrate the success of others and to be happy for their accomplishments. Teach me to be more like you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photos by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III can be found at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 25:31–46). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.