Summary: We are to see all people as children of God, not sort them into categories: beautiful or ugly, rich or poor, clean or dirty.
Things Are Not Always As They Seem
Based on: And The Angels Were Silent, Max Lucado, Chpt. 19—The People with Roses
Scripture Ref: Matt. 25:31-46
a. Last night we observed a total lunar eclipse:
(1) Ultimately, was the moon any different than what it always is just because of what we saw?
(2) What caused us to see it differently? The earth came between the sun and the moon.
(3) Isn’t that what often causes us to see people as something other than what they really are? The things of the earth get between the Son and us.
b. Read John Blanchard’s Story:
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Navy uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but who face he didn’t, the girl with the rose.
His interest in her had begun 13 months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell.
With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next 13 months they grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart—a romance was budding.
John requested a photograph, but Hollis refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting—7:00 p.m. at the Grand Central Station in New York. “You’ll recognize me,” she wrote “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.”
So, at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.
John tells us what happened.
A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured.
Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.
She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.
And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My finger gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. “I’m LT John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?”
The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!”
c. Henry Houssaye, a French historian, wrote in 1904, “Tell me whom you love and I will tell you who you are.”
2. How you respond is how you are.
a. How do you respond to the ugly, the unkempt, and the socially unacceptable? Do you agree with Houssaye’s quote?