What We Must Not Take For Granted
Yesterday afternoon I learned that the United Methodist church in Vidalia, Louisiana, burned to the ground in the early Sunday morning hours. Thankfully no one was injured, and the fire was contained, but the church building was destroyed. Photos of the fire were haunting, as flames shot through the roof of the sanctuary and the wall that remained standing bore a cross, visible from the outside.
Vidalia is across the Mississippi River from Natchez, and when I lived in that area, I drove often by Vidalia United Methodist Church. Ten years ago, I preached at a Lenten luncheon in their sanctuary, and then walked to the nearby fellowship hall to eat and mingle with the congregants. Both of those buildings are now gone.
We expect “church” to always “be there.” Though we know that church encompasses more than a building, the building itself is a huge part of our worship of Almighty God. It’s easy for us to take that kind of dependability for granted. The fire at the church in Vidalia reminded me of how quickly we can lose the places and spaces we expect will always “be there.”
This week, I ask you to do two things. The first is to take time every day to a prayer of thanksgiving for First UMC of West Point, especially the sanctuary and surrounding buildings. Thank the Lord not only for the space itself but for its protection and betterment.
The second is to come and worship in the sanctuary on a regular basis once again on Sunday mornings. Let me be very clear: I know some of you are physically unable or emotionally apprehensive to come to the church building, and that’s okay! Our virtual ministries are one of the best things to come out of the pandemic, and we know you will be with us in spirit on Facebook and the radio. But if you live here in West Point and are able to do so, don’t miss out on the privilege and honor of coming to the Lord’s house. “Be there” in the space that we always want to “be there” for us. Be there to worship the Lord — and discover that he will be there waiting for you, too.
all good things to each of you,