Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Sitting Saints

Photo: The Sitting Saints, © 2010, Irene Pruitt

The old Haitian man outside of St. Michael’s Church in Jacmel Haiti during the celebration of The Feast of St. Michael the Archangel

The old man sat weeping as the church service progressed. He sat outside the wall by the gate so that he could hear and see what was taking place inside. His shoes and clothes were soiled and torn. His soul, like the soles of his shoes and his clothes, was tattered and worn. He wept and cried out. He prayed, sobbed, and petitioned the Lord with many a shout; from fists in the air and humbled despair, through life’s weather and wear, as the crowds looked on and looked away, as if they did not care. At communion, the back rows and the periphery were overlooked, just as the old man was overlooked in life, and as he was overlooked at the peace; his tears his only release. And when the recessional took place, the priests and the saints walked on disappearing without a trace, missing Jesus in the old man’s face.

The Sitting Saints

(Deuteronomy 33:3)

The saints are sitting


Unscathed and clean




The true saint wails

Words fall . . .

They fall short

They fail

Nothing to say of comfort

Nothing of the sort

When the priests do not notice

After the church bell rings

Cries muffled

As the saintly choir sings

An offering of prayer

Is what one brings

The laying on of hands

A simple touch

And the giving of the peace

Tears! Tears!


© 2010, Robbie Pruitt


Deuteronomy 33: 1-4

“Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said: “The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people; All His saints are in Your hand; They sit down at Your feet; Everyone receives Your words. Moses commanded a law for us, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob.”

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Dt 33:1-4

Monday, October 11, 2010

Guest Post by Irene Pruitt: Earplugs

In September 2010, my wife, Irene, and I departed for our first short trip to Haiti. Now that we have returned to Virginia, we are in the midst of a period of processing, reflecting, and sharing. Irene has taken to blogging about her experience at www.irenepruitt.com, here you will find stories, images, memories, and thoughts about a remarkable country, people, and experience.

It is an honor to guest post a small snapshot of my wife's heart for Haiti with this latest post "Earplugs."

Earplugs, by Irene Pruitt

One of the recommended items on the packing list for our trip was a pair of earplugs. I found this rather surprising at first, because I imagined that developing countries were quiet and peaceful, at least during the night hours. But, being a rule-follower, I dutifully packed them into my luggage.

The first night we spent in Haiti, I found out why the earplugs were recommended, though I did not put them in. The night was filled with sounds--the cat (aka mouse exterminator) squawking in either pain or love, the dogs barking to protect their home, the occasional rooster crowing (starting at about 4am), and roar of big drops of rain pelting the banana leaves all around. These sounds just barely woke me, allowing me to enjoy them like a sweet dream before drifting back into sleep. What a gift.

In reflecting on the sounds I heard that night, I thought about of how often I plug my ears and close my eyes to what is around me. In order to maintain my comfort, lifestyle, and peaceful sleep, I push away the disturbing images of poverty and suffering. I avert my eyes and plug my ears. Quoting Isaiah, Jesus spoke right into my condition: "'For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heartsand turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." (Mt 13:15-16)

My prayer that day and since then, is that God would open my eyes and unplug my ears. That he would give me the eyes to see and ears to hear as he does. And that he would give me the grace not to turn away or put the earplugs back in.