I suppose it’s only appropriate that the air conditioning broke on Sunday! On the final Sunday in which we were to gather in Buildings B & C, particularly in the chapel, we entered in to find nearly 80 degrees of warmth there to greet us due to a cranky old HVAC unit just refusing to cool. Dozens swarmed in, and in just minutes, a makeshift space was created in the breezeway for our service of remembrance and thanksgiving. Hymnals and humans filled chairs. Readers and leaders hollered a little over the hum of the neighborhood. We told stories and remembered what has been with gratitude. And wouldn’t you know it — it was just right.
The holy wind of our breezeway worship moved us to mark what we had experienced in these sacred spaces by building altars. Recalling our ancestors Abraham and Sarah who remembered their experiences with God this way as they would come and go to new places, we too came to our time of departing with stones in hand. As David reminded us that day, “we will soon leave these buildings and lay them down, trusting with a bold and audacious faith that God is bigger than our buildings, broader than our past, and more beautiful than even those very rooms. But before we leave, we must mark what we have experienced. We must build an altar to proclaim to God and to ourselves that these were the spaces and places where we encountered the Lord.”
Members etched two one-word prayers on two stones: one, a prayer of gratitude that arose from their experience of God in these buildings. Those stones then were placed all around the building in places of profound meaning and deep thanksgiving. In the days since Sunday, I have delighted in spotting these stones peeking through windows and doors, holding fast in Sunday School classrooms and Fellowship Hall tables, and lining the chapel stairs.
The other stone bore a prayer of hopefulness for what God will do in and through our church as we step into the future. With words of “love,” “unity,” “courage,” and “openness” anchoring our Pentecost worship, the Sanctuary resounded with profound heart and voice and instrument with praise to the God who makes all things new.
A heated building. A breezy worship. Hundreds of tongues proclaiming the glory of God. Stones to mark what we have seen and heard and carry us into God’s dream for our future. You might say it was a memorable day of worship. I’d say it was a holy Pentecost!
Together in the work of Love,