Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Picture of Christian Community

"I remember a little girl, the E. Lawler I mentioned before, who came to The Good Shepherd when she was about seven years old. She was a slight, brown-haired, sad-looking, lonesome-looking girl whose clothes did not fit. She looked accidental or unexpected, and seemed to be with out expectation, and resigned, and so quiet that even in my selfishness I wished I knew of a way to help her.

"I watched her all the time. When her class went out to play, she didn't take part but only stood back and watched the other girls. She always wore a dress that sagged and brown cotton stockings that were always wrinkled. She was waiting. I did not understand that she was waiting but she was. And then one day as her classmates were joining hands to play some sort of game, one of the girls broke the circle. She held out her hand to the newcomer to beckon her in. And E. Lawler ran into the circle and joined hands with the others.

"I wrote E. Lawler into my tablet so that I would not forget her."

Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry
I love this passage. The outcast gazing longingly at the joyful circle. The innocent merrymaking of friends. A brave and compassionate soul. A broken circle. An outstretched hand. A community deepened. Lives changed forever. A child dignified. The good news of the kingdom among us proclaimed. This is the way Church should be.