On the bus the other day, I sat across from a gentleman. (That's a pretty good opener, huh?). So, this gentleman... was around my age (mid-late twenties), he had a buzz cut, mustache and looked like some sketchiness could be in his past and/or his future. That image is where my "judging a book by it's cover" self might have left things, if the bus wasn't warm that morning, and he hadn't taken off his hoodie. (*note, I am not usually a judge a book by its cover person, just so you know. Maybe it would have been better if I had phrased it, "first impression". Hmmm.)
The second impression surprised me, and I'm quite glad it did. On his left forearm the word Mercy was tattooed in simple lettering. On his right, Grace. I was studying these words (discretely, of course. I mean, I've been known to make an awkward sandwich or two, but I try not to do that with strangers...in public) - so anyway, as I was pondering what surprising choices "Mercy" and "Grace" were to have tattooed on your arms, he reached into his bag to pull out a hardcover book (another surprise). When he did, I saw another tattoo, a bit further up his right arm that said "To Live is Christ".
To live is Christ. I kept turning it over in my head. To live is Christ....to die is...something. I couldn't remember what that last bit was. I knew Paul wrote it and that it was somewhere in the back of the Book, but I couldn't put my finger on it. So when I got to work, the first thing I did was look it up. To live is Christ to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
A complete stranger, with whom I shared no (verbal) words, got me to look in my Bible and made my day. Thank you tattooed Sir. Mercy and Grace. Very fitting words for thought this Lenten season, no?