Aug 21, 2010

The Tracks We Leave Behind

A few years ago I happened across a newspaper story near Spokane, Washington, while visiting some of Helen’s relatives. The article was about graffiti, but not the kind that “artists” spray in our church neighborhood. It was rather the kind that we could call 1800s graffiti and some workers found the graffiti inside the Washington Monument. Here is the story complete with dateline.

Washington -- Graffiti from the 1800s discovered by workers renovating the Washington Monument has quite a different tone from that usually found today on the sides of buildings and subway cars.

“Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a monument to his own memory more lofty and enduing (sic) than this,” reads the inscription which can now be viewed by visitors to the monument.

It is signed BFB. No one knows who that is, or who left the small drawings and 19th century dates on other walls.

The markings in the lobby of the monument were covered over when it was decorated at the turn of the century. They were found when workers removed marble wainscoting as part of a yearlong $500,000 renovation which was just completed [Spokesman-Review (P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210), June, 1994].

When I celebrate the life of a Godly person as a pastor at a funeral or memorial service, I habitually scan the gathered congregation—some religious; some not; many not sure—and wonder what sort of evidence or fingerprints has the deceased left on the lives of these people. Sometimes when I think back over 31+ years of ministry, I thank God for so many of the souls who have enriched my life through encouragement or some other manner of human interactive sustenance. It is a blessed thing on this side!

As we live we build a resume of kind words and helpful acts. Ultimately this I think was what Jesus meant when he said to the one asking about the Samaritan: “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). After all mercy is often pretty cheap to dish out in abundance.


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