Over the next six posts, Mike Mather, pastor of Broadway UMC in Indianapolis, shares how he has come to focus locally, listening for and learning to see the abundance of God's work already in progress among the people of the congregation and neighborhood where he is appointed to serve.
Jewish Sabbath Prayer:
walk sightless among miracles.
“Hello Reverend.” Miss
Rose is often out in the inner city, in her housecoat and tennis shoes sweeping
the street, picking up trash.
caramel complexion fits in well in this block. It blends with the pink of her
worn robe and the salt and pepper gray of the sidewalk.
a toughness and gentleness, easily holding that tension. She’s seen it all and then some. She’s no innocent. She’s known blood to run in the gutters.
the shouts, then shots, so loud as to be unnoticed.
She’s tall and the years have not bent
her much. Perhaps it’s all that walking, striding into the
future. She has cared for her children,
her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.
she now shares. In her 80’s she
continues in the work of building community.
by piece she picks it up and places it deep inside. It’s
alright. She’s bringing it together in ways, allowing the beauty to shine
through. The glorious in the gritty.
steps into the street. She looks both ways. Empty patchwork fields and an
abundance of homes fill the street. Children, families, and papers swirl around
her feet. The Spirit blows and the papers dance, sometime out of her reach. She
watches, she knows where it’s headed.
cans and broken glass are part of her collection. She gathers up the broken and
damaged and brings it home.
watches from her porch. Sunflowers in
the front yard, broken pavement opening to the brick from generations ago. Some homes have fences, some have none.
porch late in 2008 she sat and dreamed about a black President, a smile on her
people walk by as she picks up trash. They notice, but don’t say anything. They walk with the
easy (unknowing) confidence of the young. They
see and don’t
see. Just like me. Their feet land
heavy. Hers seem to glide. They laugh and talk loud. She smiles and says
little. Every once in awhile they reach down and pick up a piece of paper.
the slow, steady, steadfast work of community. She builds it on broken
pavement. Sure this foundation is strong enough.
sees the beauty and she wants to make it shine. She sees the strength and she
wants it in power.
play curb ball as she cleans the street.
They see her as in a mirror. This is how we care for one another. We see the beauty, and build on it.
are people doing such work, every day, all the time.
Rose, sunflowers in the front yard, beans blossoming in the back. She knows how
to grow things.
people notice her, while others - television reporters, teachers, preachers,
even neighbors - tell them how bad their neighborhood is.
steadily, daily, cleans the street. Does she keep it clean? No. She does her
part. An invitation to others to do theirs. A witness.
Rose, smiling, reads to children at the church.