Henry has lived on the church grounds for as long as I can remember. As much as we have tried to help him to find a place to stay, most nights he takes shelter on Market Street in one of the doorways to the sanctuary.
Most of our members and many of our guests know Henry. He sweeps the perimeter of the church property every Sunday morning to clear the sidewalks of pine needles, autumn leaves, and spring pollen and to get the place fit for the worship of God. Though Henry rarely speaks, he will tell you that he takes care of First Baptist Church because First Baptist Church takes care of him.
When we began regathering for worship last spring, I asked our facilities director about some lush and unique vines that were being tended on the 5th Street side of our property. They look like grape vines worthy of Napa Valley, tied to stakes with torn clothing in the narrow stretch of dirt between the sidewalk and the street.
“Henry recognized the shoots coming up in the ground and has been nurturing these plants all during COVID,” he told me.
Truly these plants have felt a master gardener’s touch. I would never have guessed that Henry had this gift to gently and skillfully bring such beauty to life. Unfortunately, like the Pharisees in today’s passage, I see what I expect to see—in Henry and in the world—and I put blinders on myself when I think I know all that is possible.
How do you need to humble yourself so that your blindness can turn into sight?
God, keep our hearts and minds open so we may be surprised by you through people and circumstances. Help us to not be so certain of our sight that we do not see your work in the world. Amen.