Some days the noise was so loud I could not hear my-self think. Other days I had to vacate my office so workers could do their job. Every day seemed to bring some new challenge, decision, or accommodation. There were times when I was glad I had meetings to attend or people to visit. At least I could get away from the bedlam for a while.
But each time I returned to 256 E. Chicago Street I marveled at the transformation taking place before my eyes. It seemed as if the previous building was slowly disappearing and a new one was taking its place. I thought on several occasions how apropos was our theme for our capital campaign last year. We truly are transforming our church – brick by brick.
Now that the work is nearing completion it is time to celebrate, time to thank God, time to enjoy the gift of this moment and this time. On September 13 we will rededicate the building and open the 1961 time capsule found during the construction. Then on September 27 we will place the time capsule back in the wall with the previous items and new ones from our life together now. Both Sundays promise to be exciting times.
But I cannot help thinking I hear my Grandpa Donehoo’s words echoing in my heart. When my home church dedicated a
|new building many years ago, my Grandpa preached at the evening service. He had been the pastor of that church back when it was a struggling, depression-era congregation consisting of poor farmers and laborers. Now it had become a successful suburban church with a multi-million dollar facility. Times had certainly changed. |
I do not remember the specifics of Grandpa’s sermon that night, but I remember the gist of it: “Now that you’ve got this building, what are you going to do with it?”
That question is just as pertinent to us today as it was for Grandpa’s hearers then. Now that we’ve got this renovated building, what are we going to do with it? Will we sit back and congratulate ourselves on a job well done and go on with church life like we have always done it? Or is there an opportunity for us to cooperate with God’s Spirit for a different kind of church?
Some will say we should be thinking about phase two of the renovation – the interior of the building – in the not too distant future. God willing, we will do that.
But I believe God is calling us to an even bigger challenge, a different kind of renovation. It is time for us to re-frame the way we think, speak, and act as a church. Previous models served us well in the past, as did our 1961 building, but new times call for transformed ways of being God’s people. I firmly believe this is the journey to which the Spirit is calling us in these days.
Now that we’ve got it, what are we going to do with it?