I’ve been reflecting lately on the gift of seeing things with new eyes.

Take, for example, our main outdoor courtyard (St. Paul’s courtyard) at Redeemer, off the circular driveway by Melrose Avenue.

Prior to the pandemic, this courtyard for me, and I think for many others as well, was simply a space to walk through, to get from Point A to Point B.

Today, it is both outdoor sanctuary and pastoral meeting ground; a sacred space of gathering, connecting, sharing, being together. The sky-dome enchants with clouds floating overhead, the eaves provide shelter from sun and rain. The circle of benches and chairs recall Eucharistic meals and confidences shared, staff and liturgy meetings, recovery groups. This space has come alive for me, and I will never see it as just a space to walk through, again.

The same goes for Biddle Street in east Baltimore. Prior to Redeemer joining BUILD (Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development) as a member institution, I had driven down Biddle Street countless times, thinking nothing in particular about it, again just passing through from Point A to Point B.

Now when I drive down Biddle, I think of my friends and colleagues in BUILD, Johnston Square leaders Regina Hammond and Gill White, and his new wife, Clarinda. I notice the community garden at the corner of Biddle and Valley Streets, where Redeemer folks have weeded, planted and watered alongside Johnston Square residents. I look at Johnston Square Elementary School, across from the garden, and wonder what Principal Olumiji is up to.

Tomorrow afternoon, our Junior Warden, Steve Sutor, will be making a presentation on Zoom to the American Institute of Architects, highlighting The Church of the Redeemer and, in particular, our magnificent modern church space, designed by architect Pietro Belluschi. Many of us are seeing and appreciating our indoor space with new eyes, having had to be away from it, for so long. The photographs and visuals in Steve’s presentation are stunning and also facilitate seeing and appreciating Belluschi’s brilliance with new eyes. If you’re able to attend virtually, please do!

My hope and prayer for you and for me, this summer day and everyday, is that we are able to see and appreciate things afresh, with new eyes.