"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
Those were the opening words this morning in our first service in our new church building. Last week we were bittersweet as we left our old church building, but this Sunday we enjoyed sweet worship and fellowship in our new locale. The Man and I have been worshiping with this little handful for about a year and a half now. It was hard leaving our other church...we loved it, still do love it, but needed something a little closer to our home. 3 miles is about as close as you can get. Why we still can't get there on time is beyond me, but that's another story!
I was almost in tears several times this morning as I glanced time after time around the room at the sweet, finally familiar, faces around me. I may not know all of the names, but the faces of this flock are part of Sunday now. From the fresh baby cheeks to the weathered chins of the grandmas and grandpas, these folks are home to my eyes and to my heart on Sunday mornings. It was such an interesting mix of emotions to be singing the old familiar tunes and breathing in the new carpet and paint smell. To be listening to prayers from the opposite side of the much larger chapel and to be able to place a face with the voice in my mind. To be new and yet old at the same time.
As a congregation, we were challenged this morning to look and to be ready for the new things that God has in store for us as folks take notice of this new building and stop by to see what's going on. We were also challenged to look not only at the context of the above verse...the audience was the captive Jews...but to also look one verse back in the book of Isaiah..."Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." Now be careful there with your interpretation...we weren't told to forget all that we have learned and loved. We were charged with not living in the past, but to be ready for the greater things God has in store. To know, to believe, that even though He has done wonderful things for us already, He has even more and better things yet to come. To be ready for the future with Him! We finished up with the reminder that He is not only our God, that He is the God of this City, these people, this nation, and there are greater things still to be done here!
After service, we adjourned to the beautiful fellowship hall and enjoyed a classic down home church potluck, complete with authentic Irish bangers and mash in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The chance to fellowship, chat, chow down, and just do life for a little while longer into our day was just one more blessing tossed onto an already sweet Sunday. No chairs to take down and tables to set up...just stroll on into the other room!
Now, take that wonderful start, add in a blessed Sunday afternoon nap, and then the slow realization that it was on this day, March 17, 1984, that The Man and I officially started dating...and well, you just don't get a better Sunday than that! Happy Anniversary to my brother and sister-in-law, whose wedding brought us together all those years ago!
Yes, we had some new beginnings today, but we also kept some cherished memories and traditions. We will remember the lessons we have learned and blessings that have come our way, but we will be ready for what God has yet to do. There are greater things still to be done here. And I just love all of that!