Our renovation project
On our first work day Meridith gave this reflection. We’ve come a long way since then but we’d like to share it, and thank the many workers who’ve been part of the sacred work of building a house that, we hope, will honor God.
I’d like to start this morning’s reflection with a passage that probably doesn’t make it onto the lectionary all that often. It’s a reading about the construction of the temple that comes from 1st Kings Chapter 6, starting with verse 11:
11 Now the word of the LORD came to Solomon, 12 “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes, obey my ordinances, and keep all my commandments by walking in them, then I will establish my promise with you, which I made to your father David. 13 I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.” 14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it. 15 He lined the walls of the house on the inside with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house to the rafters of the ceiling, he covered them on the inside with wood; and he covered the floor of the house with boards of cypress. 16 He built twenty cubits of the rear of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the rafters, and he built this within as an inner sanctuary, as the most holy place. 17 The house, that is, the nave in front of the inner sanctuary, was forty cubits long. 18 The cedar within the house had carvings of gourds and open flowers; all was cedar, no stone was seen. 19 The inner sanctuary he prepared in the innermost part of the house, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. 20 The interior of the inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high; he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar.
My mother’s family is from a small town called McDonough, about an hour’s drive south of Atlanta, Georgia. In McDonough there’s a small church named Sharon Baptist. Almost every time I drive by that church with my grandmother she casually says, “You know, your great grandfather helped build that church.” And I say, “Yes ma’am, I’ve heard.” Whenever I drive by that same church with my aunt a similar story is told, as it is when I drive by the church with my mom. And you’d better believe, when I bring a friend down to visit that small town and we drive by that church, I inevitably say by way of introduction, “See that church with the big windows? My great grandfather helped build that church.”
No doubt for those who were involved with the building of the temple in Solomon’s time, or those whose fathers, or grandfathers, or even great grand- fathers were involved, the stories of planning and construction were told over and over. There is sense of accomplishment that comes along with helping build something that changes lives, a certain level of intertwinement that is both lasting and permanent.
Welcome to Lydia’s House first formal workday. You are helping to create the space which will house a ministry for some of the most vulnerable of God’s children. You are giving of your time in a way that will link you permanently to this house. It sounds a bit lofty, I know, but you will always be able to say to your future passengers, “You see that house with the white columns there? I helped renovate that house. I pulled down the old chimney, fought the base- ment funk, tore out the old so the new could be built.”
Thank you for being willing to put your bodies and time into this endeavor. I don’t think our work plan will go into any future editions of the Bible, but know that this time, this hot and dirty demolition, is holy time. We give thanks to God that you’re here to share in it.
Let us pray.
A new bathroom (L) and kitchen tiles (R)