Welcome to this weeks edition of coffee shop ponderings. Today I start off with an unusual spectator across the street…a raccoon. Along main street Jackson there are a series of trees growing along the sidewalk as if a remnant of the forest survived humankind’s invasion. Directly across from Coffee Choices is one such tree, but this one contains a scared little raccoon. My guess is that he came out when all was quite…exploring an otherwise scary world, but before he had a chance to retreat to his own safe haven, our scary world closed in around him, forcing him to find refuge in a tree. My bet is that he will be there all day…or until the “coast is clear”.
But I can’t help to wonder what Rocco (that’s what I am calling the raccoon…kind of dorky, I know) is thinking as he looks down on our world. It’s a world where he is not accepted or welcome, even though we are the ones invading his habitat. Rocco is not free to walk among us. He is not free to partake in our freedoms. We have pushed him and “his kind” to the fringes. And as I think of Rocco, I cannot help but to think of the way things are in the Church. There are people in our churches who hide who they are for fear of rejection. There are people who conceal their shortcomings for fear of being condemned. There are people who keep their distance as others point and gawk. And as long as there is this mistrust and haughtiness in the world, the Rocco’s of this world will remain in the trees of life.
But things will not always be this way…
…we are told in Isaiah 11, “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.” That is a vision of the kingdom. That is a world where Rocco has no need of trees. That is a world where people will not be afraid to be who they are…children of God. And it is in the promise of this kingdom I will wait expectantly and rejoice in.
And so…as we wait and rejoice…let’s join together and welcome the Rocco’s of this world. Let’s make this a “safe” place for all those on the fridges of the Church and of this world. Because with Jesus…there are no need for “trees” to hide in.