Rustlings (April 9, 2018)

Anthony Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See has won numerous awards including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in fiction. It is a beautifully written account of a French girl – blind from her childhood – and an orphaned German boy. Doerr moves the reader through episodes in the trajectory and crossings of their lives to illuminate a beauty and goodness that exists amid the struggle of their personal situations, as well as their World War 2 context. People who need a linear, simple path in their literature have struggled with this book. Most folk, however, have delighted in exploring the nooks and crannies of life’s narratives in a less chronological venture.

Walking the hallways of First Baptist today, I imagined writing a book with a similar title – All the Good We Cannot See. It would not follow a particular chronology, but would episodically shine a little light on many unseen moments in this place. Most of our members are familiar with Sunday morning worship and Sunday School. Many regularly attend MidWeek Fellowships on Wednesday. We have hundreds involved in choir rehearsals and mission groups. We regularly see these things.

However… there is so much more – often unseen – that happens in the nooks and crannies of a week. A Parkinson’s Disease walking group regularly makes their way around the track at the AYMC. Stephen Ministers gather for training on a weeknight. The church staff gathers to pray each Tuesday morning. Day School children and teachers fill the hallways off the rotunda. Garden Friends take advantage of the cool morning hours to spread mulch, pull weeds and plant flowers. A small group of ladies play bridge in the Media Center while a larger group of senior adults exercises in the Fellowship Hall. Committees gather in random rooms on random days to plan and implement and administer the work of the church. A family stops and picks up pecans from beneath the trees bordering Cleveland Street. A lone church member sits by the columbarium in our Prayer Garden, while a neighborhood resident walks our labyrinth. Volunteers are restocking the pew racks with Visitor Registration Cards and Offering Envelopes, and there is so much more. We may not win any awards for any of these things, but I love and appreciate all the good we cannot see….

— Jim