This blog post is probably some musings and ramblings of a grateful pastor, who’s getting ready for new carpet in the sanctuary!
Last week was Easter Sunday. After worshipping remotely for two Easters services, Pentecost and Christmas, along with all the weeks in-between, worshipping remotely suddenly became exhausting to me. For the past several months, after worship would wrap up and everyone logged off from Zoom, I would log into our YouTube channel, upload the worship service and putter around the sanctuary or the church building while waiting the couple hours it would take to upload to get ready for the website.
And while, Easter Sunday was no different, on this given day, I sat down on the steps in the front of the sanctuary to allow the pollen from the Easter Lillies to clog my nose and simply offer a prayer of gratitude to God for God’s continued faithfulness and presence in this congregation over the past year(s). As I sat there, I looked around and then found myself looking down at the carpet.
The carpet, with all it’s separating seams, duct tape, faded-ness, and dust and dirt particles embedded into the very fibers of its existence, still holds a sense of beauty to me as I look at it. In its 63 years of service to this church, as I look at it, with all the stains, bumps and lumps still holds vast amounts of grace and love.
So many gatherings over the years! Filled with all the emotion – good, difficult or otherwise – in 63 years there have been A LOT of lives and stories that have lived out. As I think about the hospitality, the worship, and all the emotion … I am reminded of these words from Romans 12:9-15:
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
So much love, tears, goodness, rejoicing, suffering, prayer, worship and service has taken place. And as I sat and thought about the 63 years that this carpet has been in this sanctuary…it struck me: ‘if this carpet could talk!‘ which led me to wonder about about how many couples have walked up and down these aisles, declaring their love for one another as they celebrated their wedding day. How many babies have crawled on this floor as their families celebrated their baptisms? I pictured children jumping up and down while singing, sitting on the steps for children’s messages. Images of confirmation students, choirs singing, worship services, special services and everything else that has taken place in the sanctuary. And like weddings, baptisms, and every other gathering … I wondered about the families who have gathered, watching their loved ones wheeled down the aisle as they celebrated the lives of their loved ones who have died and are no longer with us.
If this carpet could talk… I’m sure that it would tell us about the tears that fell, the knees that were skinned, the microphones that were dropped, the books dropped, the communion spills, the jumping that took place, plants spilled over and so much more. And possibly in recent years, I’m sure it would tell stories about a certain four legged pup who would race his mom from the front to the back of the sanctuary.
Now before you think “Wow. The Pastor has officially lost it” because I’m sounding overly nostalgic over carpet, let me explain as we have purged and reset the education building, we have watched a lot (A LOT) of ministry take place over the years as we found items that provided a glimpse of the early years of ministry and life – from curriculum to layers of paint, from fabric to pictures … and now yes, even to carpet. Each one tells a story of who we have been, who we are, and who we are becoming as God continues to work in our lives. I see this nostalgia as a way to honor and name the stories of our past that have been lived out in this space over the years and to get ready to create the space for all that lies ahead.
Out with the old and in with the new: And while I am grateful for the 63 years of hospitality that this carpet has provided, it is very evident that the separating seams are a safety hazard for anyone entering the space. That the faded and thinned carpet is tired and ready to go. Which is why I am so excited and overwhelmed with joy over the idea that new carpet is being installed the end of this month! I can’t wait to witness the new stories that will be lived out, and the many feet (read: lives and stories) that will tread this new carpet. I’m looking forward to seeing how hospitality will continue to be extended as we continue to gather. And just as we have been able to create a warmer and more welcoming space in the Education Building, by installing new carpet, we will be able to continue the legacy of extending the hospitality of God’s love and welcome to everyone who walks through the doors of this church.
I wonder what stories you recall? What stories are you most looking forward to?
And yes, while Zeke ran around in the sanctuary during the days of worshipping remotely, and while he will miss being in the sanctuary … he is quite happy to stay home, knowing that you’ll be back (of course he also knows that by staying home on Sunday mornings, he gains the possibility of a few more treats)!
This is Zeke’s way of saying he’s ready to go home so you all can return … thanks for letting him share in the stories of this carpet! When the new carpet is installed, he promises to let it get broken in by humans before he is back.
For the stories of our past, for our current story and the stories yet to be lived … we can say THANKS BE TO GOD!