It was a beautiful day today, so I decided to take a walk outside the church. That’s when I started to hear them. The voices, I mean. At first all I could hear was the steady traffic noise on Pembroke Street. Then the voices came – from the bushes first.
They were reminiscing about the time they were just tiny little bushes being planted around the outside to beautify the church sanctuary. They wouldn’t tell me who planted them or where they came from originally. But they did say how happy they were that some church members recently gave them a much-needed haircut! They were whispering something else as well – secrets to each other about the church families they had known and all they had seen at First Congregational Church of Pembroke over the last few decades!
They spoke of the times gone by, when the church bell rang and many people walked by them to enter the building. They recalled the limousines parking in front of them, out of which emerged brides dressed in beautiful gowns or caskets draped in cloth. They were saying how they especially liked it when the sanctuary windows were opened in the summer months and they could hear music and prayer and laughter coming from within.
They weren’t exactly sure about all that went on inside the church, as their job was to remain outside and make the grounds look good. They sometimes grieved the fact they must remain on the outside, looking in.
As I continued my walk, I heard the voices of the church building itself. They spoke to me about devoted church members, who, over the years, took care of them. Old wood beams that could be seen in the stairway leading to the steeple, told a story of the building’s younger days. The granite steps, looking as fine as they did when they were first installed, were filled with pride in their resilient beauty. When something was broken or worn out, the voices said they trusted they would always be cared for by the people who met inside. They didn’t know why that was so, nor did they care to question it.
There is a presence of God’s Spirit in a place like First Congregational Church of Pembroke. This church is not just a building with nicely kept grounds. It is a life. It breathes and feels. It has a past, present, and future. And the lives and the loves that have dwelt here are the threads which have woven, and continue to weave an eternal human and spiritual tapestry that is sacred to God.
I guess I have been here long enough to start hearing voices from strange places! This does not seem to me, to be such a bad thing. Maybe you could even give it a try and listen for the voices of our church! If you are on the outside, looking in – do come in. Add your thread to our church’s sacred tapestry by seeking to know God better and sharing life in this community – just as those who have come before us did.
May we all become more keenly aware of the pulse of life that belongs to our church – and cherish it. Yes cherish it. Treasure it! Because of our faith in this particular time and place, we are united with one another, and this is truly a sacred thing.
…Well, I have to go now, for I think I hear someone saying something to me from a distance and I don’t want to miss it! You take care! And God Bless!
Yours in Christ’s Service,
Reverend Linda C. Hey