Mizuho Kudo, a Japanese journalist, went to a restaurant recently and ordered a hamburger. When the meal came, she was served dumplings, and the waitress refused to change the order…but that’s exactly what Mizuho knew might happen.
She was eating at a Tokyo restaurant that only hires wait-staff with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s called The Restaurant of Wrong Orders. It was a pop-up venue for a few days with the goal of changing the perception of people with dementia and bringing awareness to their condition. While some individuals worried that it might be making fun of people with a problem, all the participants enjoyed the opportunity to do something fun and new. Those attending found it to be an enjoyable dining experience, and some even complained that they got exactly what they ordered!
It’s so easy to forget about different segments of our society who have trouble, in one way or another, interacting on a daily basis. So many people feel pushed aside and left on the margins. When Jesus ministered here on earth, he was known for his ability to really see people.
“Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’” (Luke 19:1-5)
The encounter changed Zacchaeus forever. He was not overlooked; he was not forgotten, but Jesus saw him and knew him. The more confident and secure we are that Jesus loves us, the more we can reach out and love others. It’s easy to get busy and overlook those who are different from us. It is because Jesus saw us and called us into relationship that we have the strength to see others as well.