Last night it stormed briefly and violently. Lightening and thunder and hard pelting rain. The winds roared stirring everything up and lots of trees were uprooted and broken. This morning which is dry, cool and beautiful, I saw a great deal of damage while driving back from the train station. We personally escaped without damage or loss of power save a few branches down over the car and yard. Others are not so fortunate. Hidden in plain sight is the damage of a few minutes which will take weeks to repair. Many of our lives have damage that has come from personal momentary storms which take years to repair.
Today is the feast day of St. Barnabas, or "the son of encouragement" as he was named by the disciples. He took Paul to the other disciples after they had rejected him. They all knew too well what a jerk Saul (Paul) had been. One of the hardest things to live with is others not recognizing the positive changes in you. Others not accepting apologies and changes of heart. These can seem like the post storm destruction that will never be cleaned away. These can seem like the most discouraging situations in our lives.
St. Barnabas' ministry was profoundly about encouragement. He had the capacity to see others with the loving eyes of God. He took Paul into the circle where he had been rejected and helped him move from excluded to a missionary sent by others. Barnabas took the edge and brought it in and helped the disciples see the goodness in their midst in very dark times. He could see what God saw, but did not judge others as the world did.
I want today to live a measure of that ministry, I want to have the strength to be an encouragement to others. I know we all need encouragement and want to be seen with the eyes of God who loves us. God who sees and blesses our potential, who overlooks our failings, knowing that there is more good to come. My prayers today are for sight to see the possibility in others and not their past. To be living encouragement to those who have been shut out. May we all be given the grace today to see the beauty breaking forth in others, particularly those who have been ugly to us. May God grant us forgiveness so others may know it too. And may we together encourage those who have been rejected based on their obvious flaws and foolish pasts. May we be Barnabas today for someone.