A couple of weeks ago I felt as though I should have been wearing a hardhat as I worked at my desk. Not that I was ever in any real danger.
Our church is renovating the third floor to make the space more modern and accessible for youth. This involves tearing out a wall between two old classrooms (this part of the property was built during the boom of the 1950s) to create a room able to accommodate larger groups.
On Thursday, the workers arrived and started cutting through concrete block. Instead of having to haul all the pieces downstairs, they wisely parked a flatbed trailer on the parking lot beneath the window and placed a chute (one 12-inch wide board, about 18-20 feet long, with 1-inch high lips running the length on each side of the board) between the window and trailer. The trailer sat directly outside my window.
Much of the day, my thinking, computering, and phone conversations were punctuated by the sound of a power saw, followed by sliding and small crashes as chunks of concrete made the trip from a wall where they’d been useful for 50 years to a heap of rubble.
I pondered the fact that decades ago, faithful members of this church used financial and physical resources to plan and construct this educational building to meet the needs of a growing, active congregation. And today, faithful members of this church are using financial and physical resources to plan and reconstruct this same building to meet the needs of a growing, active congregation.
It makes me wonder what the needs of the next generation will be, and what they will choose to tear down, rebuild, refit, rework, undo and redo. We humans often think we are creating something that will last forever. Contradicting those beliefs are the sounds of sliding and crashing, sounds of something new being made from something old.
Isn’t that what the life of faith is about, much of the time? It’s about keeping our eyes open for something we hadn’t seen before, keeping our ears open for something we hadn’t heard before, keeping our hearts open for someone we hadn’t noticed before. Because these things, these people, change us. Or they ought to.
When we are open to God and open to the world, we are changed. It can be a little scary, but it can also be freeing. It can be freeing just to let the new and the old slide and crash together so that something beautiful will result.
Maybe we should all be wearing hardhats all the time, prepared for something dramatic and thrilling. The danger isn’t that we’ll be harmed. The danger is that we won’t be paying attention and will miss something exciting.
Look out—here it comes!
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2010
Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
John 3:4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”