There is a feeling I get, heading up Canterbury Road, that I’ve come to realize is a joy-mixed longing, accompanied by a familiarity. It has caused me to want to stop (in years past) at the white church on the corner of Canterbury and Carpenter Bridge, to unlock that front door and step inside, to sometimes pray a little, think a lot, and to drink in the smells and sights that are the physical embodiment of the building that houses our church. I’ve written on here before about how I miss our church building and how homesick I have been for that place of worship.
Earlier this week, I was caught flat-footed by that same feeling. Excepting that I wasn’t anywhere near Felton, DE. Nope, I was rounding that corner from Woodyard Road onto U.S. 13 South on my way to my Sweet Mama’s house, when I had this warm and sweet familiar feeling, and an urge to turn into the Nanticoke Business Park Drive. It startled me, as my mind was far away from this temporary gathering place that we’ve been using the last three and a half months.
“What in the World???” I thought as I kept my van on the forward mode. It was so strong that it jolted my thinking about this group of believers that I call my church family. I realized with a start that we are making warm and good memories in this “Place of Grace.” It has been an adequate, full of light and comfortable place of worship for us, and more than that, we’ve been the recipients of such open handed generosity that it blows my mind. The congregation that owns the facility has been so unselfish with everything and gone the second mile with their kindness. We’ve been free to be ourselves and we’ve been encouraged to “do church” with as many familiar routines as possible.
When the fire was lit on December 2nd, the intention was to hurt and to destroy. But as the old building is being renovated and restored, something stronger and more serviceable and beautiful is rising from the ashes. And the things that hold us together as a church family were impacted, but strengthened in the time since that unsettling morning. Especially encouraging has been how the people of the broader church family have rallied around us, prayed for us, given gifts of time, expertise, and money. It isn’t “too good to be true,” because it is true! And these responses come as a God of Truth moves on the hearts of ordinary men.
What I felt when I rounded that corner was just a feeling. And we all know that feelings are not to be trusted. But may I just say that feeling a sense of delight when I am near to the place where our church family meets, even though it is temporary — well, that’s the kind of thing that I call a bonus gift. Something extra special that God does for His child in situations that challenge, reminding me of His care over, not only our church family as a body, but over His daughter and the emotions of my heart.
And this daughter’s heart gave grateful praise.