Cute little nightmare?

{In returning to my people and my place after a 3 month sabbatical, I desired to look at it, and my book that celebrates it, with a new perspective. A good friend encouraged the thought and pushed me to be creative in the way I did that. In chapter 1 of You Are There I tell the story about our wonderful old church building that I have affectionately named the Cute Little Nightmare. But what does it think of the name? Honestly, I think it would have a lot to say and would not be too happy about it.}
Cute little nightmare? Why don’t you sit down for a minute son and let me tell you about the way it was when we meant business, when we did a lot with a little. I, with the men, women and children of this Community Church have given and given again. The time and money, heart and soul that we stored away is what you now use to do half as much with twice as much. I could tell you stories about boys and girls, births and deaths, marriages and divorces. I could tell you stories of Pastors who did the job without computers, secretaries or cell phones…and without counting the hours they were on the clock.

I may only be able to seat 100 at a time, but in over 60 years, thousands have gathered to worship within my walls. Sure, those walls are not what they used to be, some of them were never much at all. Yet, every scar, every sign of wear tells a story and and every story has a soul.

My doors have been open to hurting and broken families who did not care a bit that the foyer was too small or sometimes doubled as a office, or storage, or whatever was made to work for the time. The lonely old woman who found belonging in my congregation never once thought twice that the Sunday School classroom was also the hallway to the bathroom.

Now, the color of the chairs was not my fault, I like the pews better myself. There was room for more human backsides, if you slid them in tightly together. And once together, we would open the Bible and then nothing else mattered. And we would sing! Man, would we sing! There are nights when I sit here quietly on the hill and I swear I can still hear the harmonies of those old hymns. And Hazel’s piano playing will live in my bones as long as I’m still standing.

When they tried to tear me down after the earthquake of ’93, with all the other unenforced masonry buildings in the county, my people stood up for me. Hazel said she had tied the rebar herself back in the 1950’s.

You may count the times the downstairs classrooms has flooded in the wet seasons, but countless children have had their sins washed away in those same rooms. There were times when it was deep enough to baptize in it. But when the water dried up, we opened the Bible again and young ones in the faith became adults in Christ who raised young ones in the faith. Those children, who sang their opening exercises on my stage, are now ministers, missionaries and servants of God in all kinds of vocations. My footprint may be small, but my handprint is global.

Over 60 years of open doors, open Bibles and open hearts. Sinners have been converted, baptized, sanctified and many of them glorified. Four generations of Christians have been raised up who are stretching from here to the ends of the earth and back. You call that cute? I call it glory. You call it a nightmare? I call it a dream come true.

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