Monday, October 09, 2006

The morning after

Early this morning I walked into the sanctuary. It was still dark, the only light came from the floor-spot illuminating the stained glass cross soaring above the Table and the baptistery. Gold highlights glinted from the cloth draped along the choir loft and on the Table for our Jubilee Celebration. It was filled with a pregnant silence - echoes of yesterday mingled with dreams for tomorrow.

What a day! What a celebration! What great glory and honor and praise was given to God!

The work of preparing for the day began at 9 am. A banner to raise, little handprints to be removed from the narthex windows, inserts and pens and ribbons to be put in 250 bulletins, a sanctuary to drape in cloth of gold (actually, paper of gold, but it looked cloth-like), last minute calls because I forgot to line up an acolyte and the caterer got lost. Tables to place, signs to put up, and suddenly Hey! It's nearly 1 pm - quick, go home and change clothes!

Participants and guests started arriving at 2:30. The guest violin soloist needed me to help with the sound system. The member who designed the paraments needed me to raise and lower them so she could press them again. The returning Charter Member who was presiding over the table needed to be filled in on "how we do things here now" . . . At 4 pm the pre-prelude began, the participants were rounded up and settled in their seats, and I could relax. Whatever happened from then on was completely out of my control and settled firmly in God's hands.

And it was glorious! Participants in the service ranged from 12 to 90-something, from newly baptized to charter member. They came from across the country for a home-church reunion and from congregations around the region to share in our celebration. The music ranged from the hymns sung at that very first worship service in 1956 to a song written specially for our Jubilee. The congregation was invited to remember the past, celebrate the present, and write down dreams for the next 50 years.

There were tears and laughter, joyful reunions and sadness for those who were gone. Everyone I spoke to during the fellowship meal said it was a wonderful event. A former pastor told me the Jubilee Celebration was the high point of his life - really! And everyone - members and guests alike - told me to stay home today and get some rest.

So tomorrow I will work on follow-up. I'll check the guest book to see who came and to whom we should mail copies of the bulletin and the Memory Book. I'll decipher the hand-written dreams and share them through the newsletter. I'll work on a sermon inviting the congregation to begin the journey into the next 50 years.

Today - I think I'll stay in that quiet worshipful place, listening to the echoes of yesterday and looking at those glints of gold that hint at tomorrow.


SingingOwl said...

Wonderful! My church is named Jubilee--so when that 50 year mark comes it wil have to be something fantabulous. I'll be in my early 70s. Maybe they will invite me to be the guest speaker. :-)

I am so glad all went well, and better than well.

Chilly Fingers said...

Sounds like Sunday was a beautiful day. Is Jubilee anything like what we call "homecoming?" We celebrated that last weekend-the place was packed which is always a good, good thing.

Cathy said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful gathering and a wonderful celebration - 50 years with such a diverse crowd to rejoice with!

Welcome to RevGalBlogPals!

rev maria said...

Chilly Fingers, I'm not sure what a homecoming Sunday is so I can't say. I can tell you that this event took a full year of planning and really hard work with the most awesome committee ever assembled on the face of the earth! And it will hopefully be the jumping off place for a revitalization project that will take several years to show significant results.