by Amy Walker
Our church community is embarking on a new adventure (which is really a kinder way to say big change is happening). This new adventure means we are leaving the space we have used for seven years and moving to a different location. Sounds simple, right? For some, yes. Others will be needing to say some bittersweet goodbyes to familiar doors that opened wide to familiar faces, halls that had our toddlers toddling down them one moment and then our tweens walking down them the next, a sanctuary that held a sacred space of wonder and possibility – a space to encounter the living God and to do so with other believers, with family, with friends.
I believe there is something good in honoring a space that held such holy things. So many babies held at the front of that particular space–there they were blessed, given to God, and called our own. The space could hold such beauty as we gathered together…I remember an Advent season so full of desire and longing that people fell to their knees in worship. I know of hardened hearts that, over time, were softened simply by sitting in the dark, hearing the music, and listening to the voices of the people around them. Those voices offered hope. And that sacred space offered true sanctuary when one of our own was dying. It sheltered us as we offered up all that we had–prayers, desperation, tears. There, in that sweet space, we watched her return–arms open wide and singing (alive!) up on stage, and in that moment we knew something holy and sacred was happening. Only God knows all that has happened there. Tears, laughter. Pain, healing. Loneliness, companionship. Doubt, faith. Cynicism, hope. Grief, joy. Our space there has held it all. I am profoundly grateful.
So before I go, I am going to bless the building that kept us. I will bless the walls for all they have quietly held and for all they are going to hold. I will bless the roof for keeping out the rain and the snow and the cold–for being a true shelter. I will bless the playground for hours upon hours of entertaining our kids and, as far as I know, no serious injuries ever occuring. I will bless the whole building for harboring well my church family–a group of people who are most dear. It seems to me that God graciously gave us this space to hold such beautiful things, namely us, for a season. And I say goodbye in hope, believing that He has provided another holy space in which to hold all that is to come.