I’ve been thinking a lot about floors lately. The one in the sanctuary has needed attention ever since the carpet started to wear out last year.
But now, after good planning and discussion, it’s being made new. It will be ready and look lovely for Easter morning. As I type this right now, the new carpet is being rolled out next to me in the sanctuary, thanks to generous donations that helped us afford it.
A group of people worked very hard Sunday afternoon to pull up the old carpet. And even though I knew they had done it, it was still a shock when I walked into work Monday morning. Standing in the completely empty sanctuary was a weird feeling. It felt lifeless. It was too empty.
Not only was it empty of people, but it was empty of furniture. There were no pews for people to sit and pray. No altar table to place our offerings on. No pulpit to hear the word of the Lord proclaimed. And no choir loft to hear the songs of angels.
So I can’t wait for the sanctuary to be full of life again. I want to see the warm smile of a friendly greeter welcoming people at the front door. I want to see an avalanche of hugs and handshakes during our worship greeting time. I want to see the kids huddled at the front, excited to recite Bible verses they’ve learned. I’m ready to enjoy the jubilant new life of resurrection on Easter Sunday.
A church isn’t a building; it’s a group of believers, a family of faith. And our church isn’t our building; our church is us. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it when the sanctuary was so empty: Hickory Rock’s people were not in it, and because it was so unwelcoming, we couldn’t even come and worship. At least, not yet.
As I peek in again, I can see it’s almost finished now. I’m glad everything will be put back soon and made ready for worship so we can fill this place up as a gathered church again. When we do, the good news is that our foundation is secure, physically and spiritually.
I’m told that our floor is really solid. There’s not a lot of give in it. The oak hardwood underneath the carpet is strong. I don’t know exactly how old it is. Over 65 years at least. And yet it still looks classy. Maybe it’s strong because of its age, because it has been used by generations of good people and seen such good activity. And because its spiritual foundation is Jesus Christ–his life, example, and mission. We’re on solid ground for sure.
But you know something silly? I like that the carpet got worn out, because it shows we’ve been busy. We don’t just sit passively. We are moving, we are active, and we are worshiping. The more feet we can get stepping on the floors, the sooner this new carpet will wear out too. Call me crazy, but I hope there is so much walking and worshiping in here that we’ll need some more new carpet before you know it.
Grace and peace,