Thursday, December 24, 2015

Skipping Away From the Nativity

The strains of “Go Tell It On the Mountain” were still echoing in my mind’s ear as I stood alone in the sanctuary.  The building was empty.  I was returning to the darkened room of pews to retrieve my preaching Bible.  Pausing to ponder in the space so recently filled with God’s children, it was all so much.

So much worship . . . We conclude Christmas Eve worship with a circle of light, people holding candles shining into the darkness.  Though we regularly spill into the narthex, tonight we had two circles reaching into the narthex and beyond.  Watching the folding chairs being set up was inspiring.

So much worship . . . The leadership of our music ministries was excellent.  A reflection upon a year of powerful ministry by each of our music ministries.  Our worship leaders lead us to the nativity as we hoped.

So much ministry this year . . . The calendar year began with our congregation purchasing adjacent property.  Thankfully we paved that new parking area and connected it to our own for we used it well tonight.  The calendar year concluded with our congregation adding a full time Associate Minister to our staff.  More than a sign of strength, it was a step of faith in the vision God has for our ministry.  The middle moments of the calendar year were equally dynamic and too numerous to share in detail here.

All these reflections and more were flooding my soul as my gaze traveled to the “Dove” window in our sanctuary.  It is a beautiful window of color and grace.  Perfectly positioned above our baptistry, portraying the descending dove as we baptize the faithful.  When the sky is dark and the sanctuary as well, the exterior flood light shines upon this window.  The blues and golds that surround the dove remain dark.  The dove becomes a brilliant white … light in the darkness.

Light in the darkness that provides perspective.  My soul was overflowing with joy.  The light gave perspective to my joy.  God is the source of our joy.  When we worship with our brothers and sisters of faith, we can find ourselves overflowing with joy.  

For me, it results in rambling attempts to articulate.  I want to tell of the times I have witnessed God doing miracles in the midst of messes.  I want to tell of the lives transformed by Jesus’ church.  I want to tell the stories of our ancestors and our youth.  Thankfully I serve a diverse church with more gifts than only story telling.  They get mission done and it changes people.

A new year is just around the corner.  I am so excited about 2016 and the ministry we will share.  Even more, I stood in the empty sanctuary daydreaming of what God will do to push us, surprise us, and save us between now and next Christmas.  

Foreshadowing … this week I received a box from Ohio with contents inspired by one of our ministries.  The sender wanted to contribute.  I cannot wait to tell this story to those who serve in that ministry and thank God for helping them touch the lives of others, and with the sender touch the lives of many more.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!