Sunday, February 3, 2008

times are changing

"There is a time for everything..." - Ecclesiastes 3
the time has come for Highland church to no longer meet at 443 South Highland. tomorrow i will worship at a different place, at a different time. i have worshipped at 443 south highland for almost 30 years. i am full of emotions about this change.

i like to think that i am progressive, a mover and a shaker, a leader, an optimist. but i struggle - almost to the point of resistance - to change. i was sad when my grandmother changed our christmas stockings after 20 years. i have every t-shirt from high school on. until last month i've had the same haircut all my life (give or take some 80's bangs). i still call macy's "goldsmith's", 385 "nonconnah" and U of M "memphis state." i have learned that i am very much a traditionalist and a sentimentalist. i am not superstitious. i do not think there is anything special or holy about the bricks or the address. highland is people not rooms, hearts not pews. but still, i have cried,...a lot.
with all of the thoughts and emotions that have come with this transition, i think the thing i am most sad about is that highland is the place where i met Jesus. i saw Him at highland in sunday school during flannel board lessons, in John Moore's class when he acted out Jesus in the temple, at VBS, in David Skidmore's junior high Wednesday night classes, at weddings, during Workcamp devotionals during which I was baptized, during intern sleepovers and time trip meetings, during several funerals, at so many of Buster's classes and later as an intern with Buster, during baptism after baptism, during bible studies with Rudy and Chris, while forming friendships that make every day better. i have laughed and cried, worshiped and played and prayed at Highland. i have so many memories in every room. i would not be who i am today without events and times that have occurred in that building. i am sad that i will never be able to drive my children by the building where i gave my life to Christ and my heart to Rudy.

then i started thinking of other places i have met Jesus by the grace of God - the halls of lebonheur, under a palm tree in belize, in a pool at camp cordova, in my bedroom, in a sweaty, hot room in mexico, on the beach and on a mountaintop, in the shower, searcy, arkansas, driving in my car, in a dorm room, orange mound, in our Reach group, through a card sent by a friend, through a homeless man in Memphis, via a stranger's blog,...

this prompted me to think of the places in the Bible where God's presence was most clear to others - a bush on fire, a sea divided in half, a boat full of smelly animals, in a man with leprosy, while having a meal at 2 single women's home, on a mountain, walking on a road, fishing, inside the belly of a fish, ... the list goes on and on. although the temple or tabernacle were the official places of worship during this time, God revealed himself and changed lives in other settings and during activities not necessarily set aside for worship.

so i think i've learned 2 lessons as we begin this transition:

#1 - maybe my closest encounters with God should not be within the confines of a church building. i want to have my eyes open to see God where i am. i want to live my life in a way that i experience God and share him with others whether i am at church or anywhere else in the world.

#2 - Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." this verse keeps coming to mind as i struggle with change. no matter what is going on in my life whether that be a different set of bricks to worship in, health, family, work, or other areas, Jesus will be the same. He will meet me where i am in life with His perfect love and amazing grace. i am thankful for how God worked through humble hearts at 443 south highland and pray with eagerness for what He will use us for in the future.

thanks for bearing with the emotional post. it's hard to convey the emotions into words. i'm forever grateful and thankful for the people - too many to name - who have brought me closer to Jesus. stay tuned for pictures and posts from the handprint wall.