Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:1-19
Key verse: (17) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
Reflection: I have seen more statues than I can count, one trip to any city in Europe will fill that bingo card, and frankly they are all pretty much the same. Whatever side of history they fall on, statues always get it wrong. Like Facebook that captures a picture on your best day, or thanks to filters and lack of context, what appears to be your best day, statues forever fix someone, quite literally, in a position of authority, elegance and power. Despite memorizing Shelley’s famous Ozymandias poem in grade school, we still keep erecting statues and fighting for them thinking that they preserve something when statues can only ever distort something. They are fixed, and we my frail fleshy friends are never fixed, never still, never one thing forever. Statues rob us of our history and humanity and I would vote for every one of them coming down. Well, except for one. Find it on the corner of Queens and Providence (and Queens and Providence – lord have mercy). Hugh Pharr McManaway dressed for every celebration and occasion, forever directing traffic with great intent and determination. He’s been knocked down but always gets back up on that semi eternal perch.
Some of you knew this curious man, he used to worship at Myers Park Pres, and I have heard several good stories about his hiding in trees, hopping in to cars and speaking in rhymes. He was I think a holy fool, a jester, an odd duck. And thank God we not only made room for Hugh, but we erected a statue to remember him and in doing so remember that we are all a little foolish, a little off, a lot imperfect. It’s good for a neighborhood like ours to embrace some absurdity. It’s good for all of us to remember that Hugh was trying to do and be his best and that made him look foolish. God needs fools, people who will love recklessly, forgive liberally and give generously. Let’s be fools for Christ. As Frederick Beuchner quipped, at least we won’t be damned fools for once.
Prayer: Lord make me foolish for you. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].