Reflection, Image 1 - I want to be that guy

This picture is the cover art to Robert Capon’s Parables of Grace. It was the first meaningful image of the Prodigal Son that I found while I was in Seminary, and I used it again in a study on the parable during a Lenten series at my former church. I am still trying to figure out how to do this, so I thought I would re-post this as a separate post rather than beneath the picture. I think it might work a little better even though you have to scroll down to see the picture this references

I want to be that guy. I want to be the one with arms open, welcoming the stranger, the oppressed, the poor. I know that I have given much in my lifetime; I also know there is more within me that I hoard. As much as I could be the guy with no shoes, I am more like the guy with the multi-colored coat, the one with resources and means and influence.

I want to be the guy that is admired by animals. I want to be the one that is seen by ducks and geese and dogs. They know who is gentle, they know who will treat them kindly and they draw near to that person. I want to be a friend to the environment to the only world that I will probably ever know. I want to co-create heaven on earth not reside in the hell that all too often invades my view.

I want to be the guy who is surrounded by people. Not because I am funny or share my stuff, but because I respect others and give them the opportunity to be who they need to be. I am getting better at this, getting better at listening and allowing others to teach me about who they are, but I have much to learn still. I don’t reach out as I could, preferring to remain quiet and as part of the scenery rather than the action. Then again, without people like that there would be no scenery.

Rather than being the guy with the wide-open arms, I more like the one with the crook in my hands. I am part of the background looking longingly in on the action. I do my work, I take my part in life seriously, but I am just not there yet. I have the clothing necessary to be the guy in front; it’s just that I would rather hold my crook than open my arms sometimes.

The good news is that I know where I am, where I stand in life, and I also know where I want to be. I could be picking fruit in distance, oblivious to what is going on around me; blindly doing my work not seeing the human drama that unfolds before me. I am close enough to know the good life when I see it. I just need to learn to take part, to believe that I can lay down the security of my crook and open my arms to those who need them. The work I do, I believe, is important. However, nothing should be more important than the lives in front of me.

We are, if nothing else, about community. If the church is not the guy with the open arms, then the church is useless. We become nothing more than a social club full of wallflowers. In our communities of faith we can afford to be bold. We can afford to look out at the landscape and see those who have been beaten down through oppression, violence, poverty, and ignorance and we can open our arms and damn the theology that separated us in the first place. So, I guess that I not only want to be that guy, but I want the church to be that guy, that woman, that boy, that girl, that child, that adult, that person that sees the humanity in all of us and opens wide in order to offer the greatest embrace we could ever feel.
grace and peace



Visit InfoServe for blogger templates