Our designers at Wipf and Stock do awesome cover designs. But even their fine designs do not overturn the old adage that “You can’t tell a book by its cover.”
An unattributed story from the Associated Press in last week’s paper recounted how a Mormon bishop in Taylorsville, Utah, (a suburb of Salt Lake City) had a make-up artist radically change his appearance so that he would be unrecognizable even to his own family. He dressed like a homeless man and showed up prior to Sunday services at his own church and interacted (or tried to interact) with the congregants. A couple gave him money, a few (especially children) spoke with him, but most hurried past him and didn’t want to speak to him or even look him in the eye.
During the service, he approached the pulpit and revealed who he was—to the shock of the congregation. He was quite surprised that people were so taken aback. He told them that he didn’t pull this as a stunt and certainly did not intend to shame anyone. He simply wanted to hold up a mirror so that they could think about how they interacted with others. It is reminiscent of “some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2, KJV).
If we treat everyone with grace and gratitude, whether at the holidays or not, ultimately what we will have created is a more gracious and inclusive community.