It must have been at least five years ago that I saw him for the first time
I must admit, his looks and the way he dressed, were not the inviting kind
He was quiet, presented no threat to anyone; and he never got out of line
I observed him, and looked around to see if anyone else would pay any mind
So often, when a stranger or someone looks distant, we hesitate from being kind
We stand back and keep our distance, and start hearing things through the grapevines
Were there dress codes, or requirements to be clean bearded and freshly trimmed?
Why do we render judgments without knowledge, and verdicts without evidence?
Why do we conclude that he doesn’t belong? We leave him alone; and we get tense
Why do we assume the worst? Of his guilt, we are rather certain, and quite convinced
Of course he was different, and some may have even said, “He looks homeless and out of place; he’s not well dressed, and smells just like the rest of them”.
Well, I must tell you my friend, that I refused ‘to develop’ the mental pictures I took of him
I quickly erased those snapshots from the edges of my brain, and decided to get to know him
I could clearly see that he needed us; and we needed to look beyond his appearance
He had not only stepped into a structural sanctuary, but also a sanctuary of people
He needed to be assured that this indeed was a place where living waters flowed;
We needed to live up to our call to serve God, through serving and loving people
The once distant looking gentleman, now radiates a sense of security and belonging
Eyes once dimmed and barely readable, are now sparkling with life and joy
Getting to know him has been a pleasure, and like all of us, he has a story to tell
I and others in the sanctuary are better, because we are learning to love people.