The above title is for the poem below, written by my wife Catherine, a piece that can help us see through the eyes of outsiders (and even some fellow members) as we seek to welcome people to church during Advent:
You use the greeting, “Hi, how are you?” as a polite way to keep me at arms’ length. You don’t even wait for my answer before walking on. Your duty is done.
Surrounded by your friends, you turn away and say, “My cup is full, I don’t need anyone new.”
I’m in the room, but not in your circle.
I hear, “We don’t do it that way.” My enthusiasm dies.
You want a relationship that’s never messy or involved; that requires no planning or effort. A relationship that can be shelved indefinitely with no promises to keep, no accountability, no discomfort for you.
You’re shocked and surprised when I demonstrate my talents. You say, “I never knew you were an accomplished singer, a world traveler, a master quilter, a talented chef.”
Your show of surprise hurts because I’ve been right here with you.
Unnoticed, unaccepted, undiscovered.
You learn my name, but not my heart.
You recognize my face, but not my soul.
CATHERINE HOBSON is a PC(USA) pastor’s wife, and currently serves on the Committee on Ministry in Southeastern Illinois Presbytery. Her husband Tom writes this weekly blog.