There are some strange things afoot around Saint John’s. In particular, there is a faded blue-ish 30 year old Ford Truck with a bed cover and hydraulic lift gate that likes to park in front of the church. The two male occupants appear to prefer to spend the night in the truck and deposit their take-out food wrappers on our lawn in the morning, especially Sunday morning. The police have been contacted, local churches have been warned, and we have talked to our neighbors. There are many eyes, if you will, on the situation. Nevertheless, your eyes, prayers, and attention on the situation are requested – especially so your prayers.
Kearny Avenue is well suited for children to walk safely along the sidewalk, cross 1st Avenue, and enter Hilltop Park. It’s also well suited for drug users and skate boarders, some of whom can be disrespectful and obnoxious, to avoid detection from the police and remain anonymous. This is our neighborhood – retirees, families, children, dog walkers, and the occasional drug user and skateboard rider. They can co-exist, for the most part, but that does not mean we should cast a blind eye at our surroundings, especially when children are involved.
A month ago, a window in our choir room—one that looks out at the corner of Kearny and 1st, facing Kearny – was damaged. A brick struck the bottom metal frame and damaged it, but the window stayed largely intact. I’ll leave it up to you to determine if this act was from the people who sleep in the truck; but I for one believe we would be silly to ignore that possibility. Nevertheless, here is the even stranger part. When the church was built twenty years ago, we had some leftover parts. One of those parts, pictured here, is the replacement for the same exact window that was broken. It was easy for Jon Fry, our facilities manager, to remove the broken frame and install the new one.
Was that dumb luck? Coincidence? An act of the Holy Spirit?
I believe you probably helped someone, either by word or deed, decades ago that is still remembered and appreciated to this day. I am willing to bet that something said to you twenty years ago has impacted you today. I also think that a seed was planted, like an old and nearly forgotten window, that may bear fruit in the coming years. It seems to me that this is how God works. Planting, hiding, sharing wisdom, that bears fruit in strange and unassuming ways – that to me is the fingerprint of God.
Those gents in the truck are probably drug users and homeless. Let us remember them in our prayers and, if so moved, to maybe help them if we have the chance. If the people of Charleston can forgive a gunman who murdered people in church, can we forgive some unfortunate men who live in their truck, litter, and may have thrown a brick at our window? After all, they taught us an important lesson: God provides. In this case, God provided a window and the hands to replace it.