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Piece of Clay - Job 33:6
As I write this article, news is coming out of Paris that Norte Dame, a building that has stood for more than 800 years, is in ruins. Catholics and Protestants alike are in shock at witnessing what looked like a movie scene. Some of you have been inside that magnificent place with its vaulted ceilings, art work and stained glass. Architecturally speaking, it is irreplaceable. Of all the comments that were reported at the scene, a young French actor was asked for his thoughts. He said, “It is not about the faith. It is the loss of our symbol.” That is a sad commentary on the state of faith in our world. A remarkable building being reduced to ashes is viewed as only a symbol by some.
On that same day across the globe in northeast Mississippi another lesser known church building was also discovered to be unusable. Lowrey Memorial Church is located on the campus of Blue Mountain College. It has not stood for eight millennia. It has stained glass windows but they are not very big. It has a massive pipe organ but it does not get played regularly. The college has used the church as a “home base” for recitals, BSU gatherings and even chapel services in the past. There is a great deal of history inside that building, but there is also black mold, asbestos and lead paint. These have added up over the years to become a force too strong for the congregation to ignore. So, this Sunday, just like at Norte Dame, this church will have to be moved elsewhere for Easter services and all others for the foreseeable future.
I did not attend Blue Mountain College but my wife did. I did not grow up in the town but my wife did and we live there now. Our home is across the street from the church. I have no childhood memories of that church but my wife does. Bible Drill, Training Union, GA’s, VBS, her baptism, both of her parents’ funerals and even our wedding: these events happened inside that building. You can imagine the sadness she is feeling right now.
It is sad when we hear of a church that closes and they do – try to go and find the church at Ephesus – it is not around anymore! Yet, there is good news: Lowery is not closing, just moving. The town has already offered space in its brand-new community center for as long as the church needs it. Is that not great to hear?
One truth the church of Jesus Christ has always revealed is that no matter what is thrown our way, be it hurricanes, fires, tornados, floods or even asbestos, what was begun over 2000 years ago at a graveside of an empty tomb is still true today. A group of people gathering for church do not need pews, lights, instruments or even restrooms. All you or I need to have church is the presence of a living Savior. As long as He lives, His church will as well.