As the weeks of summer continue to come and go and the work on the ceiling of the sanctuary continues at a good pace, we are getting closer to moving back into the sanctuary. In the next couple weeks, we will be able to identify the first Sunday we will be back in the sanctuary for worship. The construction crew has worked diligently and meticulously. Right now, we estimate moving back into the sanctuary around the first of August, which is good timing because it is before the beginning of classes for the city schools as well as for Auburn University.
During these weeks, as we have been displaced, we have also gained much. We have been reminded of the changing seasons of life and faith, and what it means to keep the faith “in season and out of season.” Even in our displacement, feeling “out of season,” we have found latent gifts in our experience. Many times disorientation points us in a good direction.
We have gained the gift of new perspective. From time to time, we can forget all that we hear and see in worship. The routine of worship is essential, but occasionally, experiencing worship out of our normal routine is also helpful. We have sat in different seats, looking from a different point of view, and listening from a different place in the room. Different people have even surrounded us. All of this has enriched the meaning of worship.
We have also been reminded of something that is always true, but we rarely notice. We are accustomed to sitting in the same room for worship, so we can forget that wherever we are, we find God. If two or three gather in the name of God, joining their lives together, worship takes place. We have seen this again, as we have gathered in a different place on the Lord’s Day.
We are aware yet again that no room binds the gifts of our choir. They have continued to lead us in song, bringing to life our faith through the hymns of the Church. We are also reminded that our worship is marked by our coming and going, wherever we gather. We come together in order to share the journey of faith and then we are sent forth in order to love God and to love our neighbor throughout this world.
Lastly, we are grateful. Our gratitude for our beautiful sanctuary has been renewed because we have been away from it. Its stained glass windows, its history, its prayer-soaked walls, its reverence, its organ, and its strength are gifts for which we are thankful. Our gratitude is at the forefront of our minds and hearts, as we look forward to returning to our place of worship.