Monday, October 31, 2005

snapshots of a fragmented soul

cloaked in burlap, wrapped in snow, an introverted preacher calls to the crowd:

"city of peace, receive the peace of God."

"hot chocolate to warm your bodies, confession to warm your souls!"

"you've received condemnation from the church, now receive her confession!"

"drink our free hot chocolate, 'tis sure to ward off the bird flu."

"isn't it time the church came clean? come hear her confession."

somewhere along the line, the preacher realizes that his slogans are not the bane of the boulevard's existence. rather, his slogans are his way of blessing the churning, chaotic and charmed city. faith is such a funny thing. then again, so is fear.

the well-groomed pastor and the cynical confessor stop in front of a store front. the latter leans against a warped door, while the former lays his bag of crullers on a window frame. the pastor works for a mega, while the cynic helps lead a micro. one of the pastors carefully explains the four squares of his tradition, while the other laughingly imitates a friends' astute observation: "buncha' whores in this town." both of these pastors, one carefully coiffed and bright-eyed, the other cynical, yet harassed by hope, are walking the same path. the body is broken, the blood is shared.

his name is scotland. i desperately want him to hear my confession, he simply wants to spend a few moments with me. i speak of the church and he asks about life, i talk about life and he questions the church. after twenty minutes together, i am standing on the fence of frustration, due to our failure of communication, when i stop. these moments, inviting the stranger walk beside, if only for a moment, are sacred. accompanying someone to a destination, rather than blithely providing directions, can be sacramental. i realize that i learned to administer this sacrament at the cracker barrel and cannot conceal a snicker.

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