There's just something about being home...after a long day at school, it really feels good to be home .
But, just now, I'm not only thinking about the place where I'm sitting right now, typing up this blog post. I'm thinking of a another place that has been home to me since I was seven years old.....
...for ten and a half years. I still remember my first time coming here for church. We had just moved to the area, and after one Sabbath of visiting this church, my sisters and I had decided that this was our church.
It wasn't about a fancy building. It was definitely was not big or elaborate, but what seven year old cares about that? It wasn't about there being a bunch of kids to play with after church (although there is plenty of them now!). No, it was because we came to know love- church family love- here.
Our sabbath school teachers were awesome! I still remember so many of the things that we learned and did in kindergarten. It's funny how most of what I learned back then can still apply now, and how I am reminded of that stuff all the time. My Sabbath school teachers put time and effort into what they taught us. They still do. In fact, my six year old brother and sister have one of those same teachers now. (They love Sabbath school, too!)
Church, for us, never ended after the sermon though many of those were so vivid that I still remember them now. There always was hiking, singing at the nursing home, picnics , popcorn and worship at someone's house or just a long hour or more of talking in the parking lot ( the church foyer was too small to hold half the crowd).
My church has nurtured me as I've grown up in so many ways. People cared about me. They taught me. They challenged me. They gave me opportunities. I enjoyed working in the community service building with the church ladies when I was nine. I started playing the piano for church when I was about thirteen (they always only encouraged even though I sometimes blundered through the hymns). About the same time they let me start helping with the janitor work.They helped me go on several mission trips to both Tanzania and Mexico. They gave me opportunities to learn to lead song service, to do special music, to help with sabbath school superintendent remarks, and teach the cradle roll lesson. What other church would give the amazing experience of leading VBS to a 15 year old?
I love being involved with my church. It's energizing!
My church is a place where people carry one anther's burdens.When we're having a bad week, people are praying for us. When we have to bring one of the kids to church in pajamas because they have got many hard lessons to learn, people understand. They smile, but they only encourage us. Prayer request time is never dry or boring, everyone feels welcome to share. When someone's struggling people are there for them. It's wonderful!
Our big problem was: our building was to small. We did not have enough room for visitors, and growing is one of our reasons for existing. So....we decided to update our building. I don't think any of us really understood what that really meant back at the beginning of last year because the project was supposed to take about six to eight weeks. That time stretched to more like eight months! We thought we were being sarcastic when we, in late summer , said that we might not be back in the church until thanksgiving, but now Sabbath, January 21st, we finally are back, and it's well worth the wait!
It's far from completed but the entry and the sanctuary are beautiful. The warm rich colors match the atmosphere of our church. There were several work bees to prepare to get back in there, but most of the work, besides that of our hired workers, was done by our building committee which worked extremely hard through this whole process but especially the last couple weeks.There was much rejoicing this Sabbath. The music was better than ever with flutes and violins and probably angels. Plus, the acoustics have improved!
Our pastor who fell of the ladder while working on the church had his first sermon since the accident last month. Although he is still using a cane, it was amazing to see him even up front. He used the verse from Psalms where it says, " I was glad when they said unto me let us go unto the house of the Lord", but he also pointed us to our final home. That is the purpose of our church. It's to prepare for when we can go and have church in heaven with Jesus in person! That will be a day for rejoicing....The day when we are really, finally home at last!
So, where's home for you?