Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


"If we had any possessions we should need weapons and laws to defend them." It was a gentle response. His lifestyle—the one he was sharing with a growing band of ragamuffins—was driving a handful of bishops up the wall.

The young Frenchman could and did reason. [What could you do to a man who owns nothing? You cannot take from someone who has no regard for “mine” and you cannot ruin someone disinterested in prestige.]

Francis wasn’t all in his head, however. He was traversing the country of the heart where, for him, possessing something was the death of love. As far as he could tell, there wasn’t a whole lot of life in playing defense ‘til you die. And that was what possessions did. They put you on defense.

I saw him under a blanket atop a bench. When the sun pours orange over a Virginia boardwalk and you feel your own illusions being stripped by the winds and waves, the sight of a have-nothing can make you think: Funny how a man once seen as a nuisance landed among the most honored figures in sacred history.

He was there when a slew of seagulls descended, scaring me out of my nap and up off my towel. Who is feeding them? Don’t they know? It was war; that is, until the grace that filled a disciple nearly 800 years ago came to me. These creatures had recognized the subtle shift in tide. They were waiting for the water to pool, for their little fish to appear, and they were together en masses because they belong to each other. My God, had they wisdom to share.

How about spending the month saying thanks to those through whom we’ve caught a glimpse of God? A first go at it: Dear Francis, Thanks for loving creatures great and small. Thanks for setting the table for the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind (v.13). Maybe we’ll get World Communion Sunday right in time. Oh, and the Christmas crèche: Just found out that you were behind that too. I’ll think of you this year when I pull out the nativity figurines Grandpop brought back from Germany. It had to have been pain upon pain to experience your family’s disassociation and the suspicious gaze of many others. I guess I came to grace upon grace—to trusting in the kin that comes with the kin-dom because of stories like yours. Sweet is your memory. Love, Rachel

UncategorizedDrew Willson