"He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there." Luke 22:12
In most of the famous paintings of the last supper, all of the disciples are leaning in, and we can recognize each, we remember their role, even the betrayer. We know them by name. The great passion, the vibrant last words of Christ, all of those, we rehearse, week in and week out. We rarely, if ever, remember the ones who furnished the room, led the way in to a safe place, keeping the food coming and cleaning up after it was all over. We never knew their names to begin with. But we all know people who never make it into the picture, never step into the center of the stage for the spotlight, but without whom nothing valuable would ever happen. My husband is one of those people and today is his birthday.
For most of our married life Mark has worked in theater and arts administration. He has made sure that all the actors, artists and teachers in his charge got paid, he has cleaned green rooms, ordered special food for temperamental actors, provided educational experience for at risk children and even provided baby sitting for parents who needed to be on stage. One acrobatic group refers to this role as "the man with the tie." The guy behind everything that makes the show go on, provides the room and the place for amazing things to happen. So here's to Mark on his birthday. And here's to all the other back stage guys (men and women alike), without whom the good things of life would never happen. They never demand the spotlight, and do all of it with kindness and a smile.
I invite us all today to seek out and thank those folks who have set the stage, led the way to a furnished place, found us a room for the night, and set the table so that God could move in our lives. These folks, quietly, without attention, help usher in the incarnation. They are evangelists by their actions. They "make straight the highway for our God." They quietly offer their skills and hearts for the transformation of others. They act the still, soft words of the living God. Thank you, Mark and all the other evangelists who quietly bring God's love into the world.