Not quite seven years ago, my friend and I sat on my back porch discussing Psalm 127. I was presumably mentoring her but I was so shell-shocked at the time, and so very heartbroken, I really think it was she mentoring me. In fact, it is probably still she mentoring me to this day though she has since moved. Thanks to the wonders of technology she is only a text message away and I find myself often seeking advice and opinion and perspective.
At the time of our mentoring discussion, our church was in its very early stages. Psalm 127:1 was particularly applicable: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” How much we wanted the Lord’s blessing in this, the building of His church! How we begged for His work, not ours! We prayed together that day, my friend and I, and asked the Lord for those very requests.
My church began on a hot July day seven years ago in another friend’s driveway. Actually, I suppose you might say it began a Sunday night a couple of weeks before that when a bunch of us crammed onto my back porch in a swell of grief and shock. But it was there, on that July day, all of us fanning, kids wandering between the lawn chairs, the decision, the leap of faith as it were, was made.
We met first in a large conference room at my husband’s office, borrowing chairs from another church and setting up a makeshift nursery in one of the empty offices. It wasn’t long before we were able to rent a converted insurance office space large enough for our corporate gathering. We eventually rented three units in that same complex and there we have met for worship and Sunday school and fellowships and bridal teas and Vacation Bible Schools and all the other functions and privileges of church life over the past seven years.
However, this past Sunday we bid good bye to our “storefront” meeting space and we have spent this week moving chairs and desks and tables and bookcases and sound systems and everything else to our new church building.
Our building. Ours.
When we first began, a beautiful building with cedar columns and stone accents and gorgeous stained concrete floors was the very last thing on our mind. Sure, we would have liked a sink to make kool-aid and maybe some green space, but, really, as we brainstormed church names and drafted a church covenant and googled statements of faith, our overarching desire was to build a church, not a building, but a church and to do so together, according to the pleasure and provision of the Lord.
This week as we were sorting things to be moved and other things to be given away, my friend and I were surveying the pile of giveaway items. We realized we each had things we had donated, me a pack and play and a toy box and a few other nursery items, she various other things needed and necessary when the church is new and the budget small. She laughed and said, “We just kind of all threw our stuff and whatever we had in together didn’t we?”
That’s exactly what we did. We threw our lot in together seven years ago, for better or worse, richer or poorer. We had no idea where the Lord would lead or how He would provide. We loved each other and we loved the Lord and to us that was enough. The Lord would build the rest.
And so He did.
This Sunday we will worship together in a building the Lord in His rich and abundant grace has provided. We will humbly, gratefully acknowledge Him as we rejoice in His faithfulness to us. We know that unless the Lord builds it, we have labored in vain. We believe this is the Lord’s work. We have seen His hand, we have known His faithfulness, we are recipients of His mercy and His grace.
To God be the glory, great things He has done.