I recently finished reading the book, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts, by Neil White. It is the story of a New Orleans socialite who goes to prison for bank fraud. He is sentenced to a year in Carville minimum security prison in Carville, LA. What is unique about this prison is it is also home to hundreds of leper patients. Carville prison was also the United States last leprosarium at the time(It is no longer open). It is a story of one man's redemption through the outcasts and how these leper patients change his life. Originally repulsed by them and afraid he would catch the disease from them he moves to a place of love for these people, and is transformed by their care for him.
He goes to church with these people, takes communion with them, and sees God's love through them. One of the poignant moments in the book is when he shares about a leper patient who is in church and is reading a braille bible with his tongue because he is blind and has no feeling left in his hands. That convicted me.
Isn't it amazing how God speaks through the outcasts of society, confronts our insecurities through them, and shows us our own weaknesses through them. Jesus calls us to them, challenges us to enter their reality and I truly believe it is as much for our benefit as it is for theirs. We are transformed through their pain, and I think in them we are reminded about our own frailty, our own lostness, our own brokenness and the hope for all things to be made new.