The Messenger

Jennifer Eriksen Morales

“Bring our Troops Home Now.” These words, hand written on a slightly weather beaten sign and displayed on a busy intersection in Souderton, Pa. caught my eye throughout the summer. Though I do not want to diminish the important demand this sign conveys, I must admit, the messenger, more than his message catches my attention.

The messenger, a grey haired man, is silent and stoic. He stands motionless on the corner except to angle his sign to face oncoming traffic when the light changes. If someone beeps or gives him a “thumbs up,” he tips his head slightly and smiles in acknowledgement. The messenger can be found in the same place a few times a week. I have seen him standing in rain and afternoon sun. He has been there early in the morning and early in the evening. He silently communicates his message whether people whistle their support or shout obscenities as they drive by. Once I drove past him a number of times in one day and suddenly realized the messenger had been standing on that corner for at least six hours in over 90 degree heat. I am flabbergasted by the dedication of the messenger. I am drawn to him. Who is this man who cares so much about peace that he is willing to spend hours standing on a corner in Souderton? Why is he so committed to this cause? What is his story? Perhaps next time I see him I will stop and ask. I wonder how he will respond. I want to know him in order to better understand his message. In short, the messenger intrigues me.

The authors of A Culture of Peace state,

bull horn“In many parts of the world, people are intrigued by Jesus. His person is winsome, his story is compelling, his teaching makes sense. And when people find Christians who love Jesus and take his teachings so seriously that they apply them to all areas of their lives, people are astonished, delighted, and attracted.”

And so this ardent man makes me wonder, what kind of messengers are we? How do we announce the presence of God’s kingdom in bold, creative, and authentic ways that people notice? Is God’s reconciling, grace, and love filled action toward us as individuals and a community a template from which we relate to others? How is this evident in the way we live? Are others intrigued, delighted by or attracted to our way of being enough to ask, “Who are you? What is your story? Why are you so committed to your faith?” And do we know how to respond?

*Alan Kreider, Eleanor Kreider, and Paulus Widjaja, A Culture of Peace (Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2005), 177.

photo by David Landis