Monday, February 06, 2006

Knocking on heaven's door...

The other day I found myself detained at work at running later than usual getting home. By the time I got out, the day had turned ugly, as night fell dark clouds had crept across the sky, lightning lashing out, and rain intermittenly fell. I drove down the dark streets, spray leaping onto the windshield mingling with the fresh drops that began to fall once again. The wind blew strong, causing my car to groan against the attack. I found myself stopped at a traffic light, one I'm very familiar with, and glanced over at one of my favorite sites along the route.

The "site", as such, is St. Martha's Catholic Church. I've written about it here so will not enter into great detail here again for the beauty of this sanctuary was not what caught my eye this time. For, this time, no light glowed through the majestic stained glass, illuminating the dark streets outside. No light emanated from the building at all. Then, my eye caught site of what, in my mind, was a profound sight.

Huddled in a dark alcove stood a homeless man, shoulders hunched in against the rain and wind. His belongings lay huddled at his feet in a plastic bag and he pressed into what brief shelter the small overhang of the church provided him. What struck me was that the door was locked and he could not enter in. Wow.

I thought about this as I drove on and wondered if maybe, just maybe, this is how the church is perceived anymore. Or maybe, just maybe, this is what the church has become. No longer do we embrace the fringe and marginal but instead praise those who offer us wealth, prestige, and fame. The humble is no longer welcome, the outcast no longer accepted. Instead, we seek out those with "gifts", those with power, and those with beauty.

What a tragedy! We must learn to see the beauty in the broken, the face of God in the misfit. The orphan must become our child and the homeless must become our guest.

Lord, help me, cleanse me, and purify me. Draw me closer to You and enable me to see the outcast, the marginal, the fringe, for who they really are, people you love who bear within them the capacity to reflect Your glory!