This morning we enjoyed a virtual tour of our sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church. It was great to see the place that I and my family have worshipped for well over 20 years. Indeed I enjoyed the experience so much that I stopped by and snapped several photos of the classically beautiful exterior of the building. Faith and church are an integral part of my life and have been so for 52 years. My how time flies! Our 2020/2021 Pandemic has separated many of us from our weekly gathering together in a physical setting for worship…but it has not taken the experience from our hearts. Nothing can remove that beautiful experience. Zoom Church is edifying and fulfilling. It is a wonderful vehicle to bring church to you…when you can not go to it.
I recall helping to build a church so many years ago. We had a little white chapel that we attended beginning in 1969. During the latter 1970’s our congregation took a loan to expand our building in a significant manner. The road to the construction of our new building, that would inculcate the existing building in its surrounds, included the volunteer assistance of most of the congregation. I knew nothing regarding building…but I learned. We did have a fine carpenter in our midst, David, and were fortunate to receive the assistance of a man who had built several churches. Be that as it may…we were for the majority…unskilled labor. One night we were working by the light of work lamps and, all standing on the subfloor that was above the basement that had recently been excavated. Suddenly the floor began to weave and buckle and shake… The first sign that I knew that something extraordinary was about to transpire was when I saw the primary work lamp that was strategically placed in the middle of the wooden floor…quickly rise toward the open sky…as the floor beneath our feet collapsed in what seemed like minutes…but was really a matter of seconds. I was 17 years old… Upon our dust covered inspection as to the loss of life and limb…no one was hurt…
Faith communities have given my life structure and enriched my ideas of what can be accomplished by seeking to follow Christ’s example. It seems to me that the people that have influenced me as to the truth of christianity have been those who never told me that they were a christian…but they lived a compelling life that made me want to know how they achieved such centeredness and peace… I am a lover of old church and cathedral buildings. Notre Dame in Paris intrigues me. In fact Europe is abundant with stone churches and cathedrals. If these edifices could speak…the story that they would tell. Actually they do speak…if we are willing to listen.
Although we are the church…the building that we gather in is of infinite importance to us. Just as we identify with our homes…we identify with the home of our faith. We enjoyed a private tour of the Vatican in 2011 and it was outstanding. To stand in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica…was mesmerizing and moving! Craftsmen spent years plying their trade of stonemason and other skills to the construction of a physical edifice that would glorify God. Their work is not something to be taken lightly or dismissed or diminished in importance.
‘And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all it’s furnishings, just so you shall make it.’ Exodus 25: 8-9 KJV