This picture hadn’t surfaced long before spreading to national and international popularity:
The back story, as I understand it, is that Christopher, a young boy with Down syndrome had the chance to meet his idol Adam Levine, after Monday night’s Maroon Five concert in DC. The event proved to be so overwhelming for him, that he ended up on the floor with a panic attack. Unfazed by this, the band, along with local radio DJ Intern John, decided to lay down on the floor with him to make him more comfortable. Their whimsical and loving gesture helped to restore him to a place of peace, and no doubt made the evening an even more special memory for Christopher and and his family. The story is a heartwarming one for sure, but even more than that, this story provides a powerful metaphor about what love looks like.
I don’t just mean loving your friends, loving a cuddly baby, or loving your significant other. I mean loving those who are more difficult to love, or maybe who have nothing to offer in return except for laying on the floor. The world is full of people who have been marked by stigma: those with special needs, the mentally ill, the homeless, the depressed, those who self-harm, those who have been outcast and abused in all forms, and the list goes on. Love means being blind to stigma. Love means if you can’t stand up to greet me, I will lay down on the floor so I can greet you.
I remember a speaker during my church’s missions week a few years ago describing a tour of a slave ship. She described the hellish, death-ridden, torturous conditions that existed in the hold of a slave ship. She went on to describe a chapel that was directly above the slave hold, and she was haunted by the idea that slaves below would hear a worship service above them, even as they suffered and died below. Her point was this: the place of Christ’s followers in a suffering world is to be metaphorically below deck, sleeves rolled up, caring for those who are suffering, where it is dark and messy and painful and smelly and difficult. This is how Jesus loved.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40: “As you have done it to the least of my brothers, you did to me.” This means there is no least. The concept doesn’t exist anymore. This means that even if someone is considered “least”, treating them as though they were the greatest. And really what illustrates that more than a world-famous rock star, taking a few minutes to relax on the floor next to a scared boy with Down syndrome?
And this guy was my mine.