Tuesday, August 24, 2010

chairs

Tuesday mornings are staff meetings at New Charlotte - me and the guys.  It's a tough job but somebody's gotta keep all those hooligans in line.  Today we met at the picnic table on the front porch and enjoyed the first hint of fall, because anything under 85 degrees feels like fall these days.  When we were finished we made our way to the worship center to tackle a pretty big job.  It required a bit of manual labor and although I woke up this morning with a serious pinch in my neck I didn't hesitate to jump in for fear of being called a 'girl'.  {I have to hold my own with those guys.}  


The task:
Over 300 borrowed chairs needed to be folded and loaded into the back of a truck to be returned to their middle school home for good.  They are the chairs that for the past 3 months have been used by hundreds of people who have entered the doors of this old knitting mill turned church to hear about the faith, hope, and love of Christ.  Those chairs had seen their last days in this little warehouse 'home' we've made in the middle of the city.   

As I folded each chair and sent it away, I envisioned the faces of all the people I had seen sitting in them during those summer months.  I imagined what may have been going through their hearts and their minds as they worshipped, experienced community together, and heard the truth of the gospel (some perhaps for the first time) in those very chairs.  The chairs weren't particularly comfortable, but neither is the life that God calls us too.  

Full of hope - yes.  
Full of love and peace and joy and grace - absolutely!  
Full of comfort - not necessarily. 


This weekend we will move in new chairs in preparation for the official launch of our church on September 12.  

The new chairs have nice soft cushions.  

They are pretty comfortable.  
I think we will all appreciate the new chairs.  

But...

I am feeling nostalgic about the old chairs and I am vowing not to forget them.  For me they represent the discomfort that sometimes comes with stepping out in faith to do something that God has called you to even when you face fear and uncertainty.  All of us who have stepped into this pioneering journey to launch New Charlotte Church - and make sacrifices out of obedience along the way - will remember the days of the old, brown, hard chairs and the faithfulness that God has shown us as we watched them fill.  Perhaps more than anyone else we will appreciate the new soft cushiony chairs and every other gift that follows, because we know...
   ...only God.