On the west side of our property, there’s an alley, and then there’s fences, separating backyards from us. Outside one of the gates of that fence, for months, has been a statue sitting by the garbage cans. It’s right in my line of sight when I walk out the back door of the office wing. And on Monday, I finally walked over and checked it out.
The statue is one of Saint Francis of Assisi, who would be the patron saint of this congregation, surely, if we did patron saints, and he has a pretty severe neckache. That is, he has no head. Or rather, he has a head, but it is sitting on the ground next to him. So, feeling a little brave, I left a letter on their gate, letting them know that I’m happy to take their statue to someone who can recapitate the saint if they’d like it repaired, and if they don’t, asking if we could have the statue.
And by we, I mean I. At least until it’s fixed.
I like the phrase “recapitate the saint”; I think it speaks to our mission as a congregation, a denomination, and as a people of God—we are seeking wholeness in a fragmented world, through in-breaking and co-building the Reign of God. And so to seek wholeness, we have to see fragments. To see the statue, we have to see the pieces. To see the harvest, we have to see the weeds in the field as well.
I’m getting ahead of myself with that one, but only ahead to Sunday. (Maybe I shouldn’t use “ahead” in respect to dear Saint Francis!) We’ll be looking at the parable of the wheat and the weeds, where weeds are planted in the wheat and grow up alongside. They can’t be torn out, as it will kill the wheat too—so what do we do? Blithe optimism? Intentional blocking out of the bad? Letting it be or suffering through it? We shall, of course, find out.
And who knows? I might have a Saint Francis head to do a little Hamlet with on Sunday. Only time and hope will tell! I look forward to seeing you then.