The Blind Man

I was approached by a man at the Peace on Sunday who after telling me he was blind, insistently asked for money to go to Florence for an eye operation. I had just finished a sermon on listening to our prophetic voice, in which I mentioned the person who sleeps huddled in St. Paul’s great bronze doorway, the same doors we had flung open the week before to welcome all passing along busy Via Nazionale into our sanctuary for our Christmas Bazaar refugee center fundraiser.


Many people come to our doors asking for money. We have done our best to structure our response to such great need in the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, which serves over 20,000 guests a year. Had I had my wits about me, I would have spent more time listening to this man, perhaps even offering to go with him to the train station to help him buy that ticket to Florence while inviting him to flesh out his story. Perhaps it would not have been possible to get beyond his powerful immediate desire for financial help.  We also have a small rector’s pence (which did end up benefitting this person). But I think what might have been most helpful was accepting the invitation to truly be the Good News by spending more time listening. I will not soon forget this gentleman, or his lesson.

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