Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An ordinary urban scene.....a hidden heavenly meaning


In the nearly ten years I have spent with folks on the streets and in the alleyways and byways of Lexington, I have seen a very broad spectrum of dark and joyous moments. However, few scenes that I've ever witnessed do more in paradoxically uniting the dark and the joyous elements than the one that I found when I arrived at the High Street House several days ago. As you will see in the picture that I've attached, the scene that I found was of an empty bottle of mouthwash lying right next to a large pile of bean-flecked vomit, which in turn was lying at the base of the wooden-cross located on the front porch. On the previous night I had been working at the house quite late and found a man lying on the porch, who jumped up shaking, begging me not to call the police. I told him that I wasn't going to call the police and tried to encourage him, telling him that it was alright if he layed there for a while as long as he tried to respect the property. Obviously, this was an ill-advised and moderately hopeless thing to say, and I knew that it was. So, when I arrived the next morning to find the remnants of the late night drama I was not surprised. However, I was blown away by the symbolism of these strangely congruous elements; the innards of a flesh & blood human being, slowly being rotted away by mouthwash, lying at the base of the cross. There is something profoundly wrong about this picture to be sure; but it is the something that is profoundly right about the picture that we often struggle to comprehend. I'm not going to say much beyond observing that I've hardly ever witnesed something that more forcefully brings to life Paul's words in Acts 17 when he says "he is not far from each one of us." Grace is everywhere........hope is the air that we breath.......

2 comments:

robbie said...

billy,
thanks. isn't it strange, how somehow seeing such an awful thing, is somehow inextricably tied to the beauty of the life and work that you're part of? i mean, sometimes being able to be with people at their worst moments, and living through it, somehow seems like what it's all about. but, at the same time, i revolt too at not being able to fix things/situations/people. maybe the man now knows he has somewhere he is welcome, and that's enough. but how can it be "enough" until this human being, image of God, can avoid poisioning himself so much? i don't know...but thanks for the post.

geoff said...

wow. that porch has seen some divine moments. thanks for posting this bill.