Early in the month of March you may see the scaffold going up around the church. This will bring some safety to those who are going to be working on the roof. Replacing the roof will bring some sense of moving on with a long planned project. The roof will be wind and water tight. We will be encouraged to plan for the future. The roof is important but what we do ‘under’ the roof must be important too. Our own house may be a place of shelter, but our home must be a place of warmth, hospitality and security. When our home is a place of love it is truly a home and not just a house. Our church must be for us a place of love and worship. The roof may protect and give a safe place to call home.
A few years ago the Church of Scotland was involved in a piece of work called ‘Church without walls’. This was an attempt to reinvent a church for the current age. The original title ‘Church without walls’ came from a visit a Minister made to a Church in Africa. While worshiping with the African congregation the Minister was struck by the Church having a roof but now walls. The roof afforded shelter from the scorching heat and protection from the sudden rain storms.
The Minister spoke with the local congregation and asked why they had not built walls for the Church. They suggested that walls would restrict the congregation. Worship would often involve many thousands of people. The people may be able, for a short time, to gather under the roof but then spread our as more gathered to take part in the worship.
The Minister loved the image of a Church without walls. This can be a church where barriers, ‘walls’ — that may separate people are torn down, people are welcomed and there is a sense of being together and so being able to flourish.
Perhaps in our personal world we erect barriers, ‘walls’ or barricade. The challenge of life is perhaps to try to take this self-protective covers down. Not to expose our vulnerability but to be authentic. The Christian faith holds at its centre the need to be authentic before God — how authentic can we be with each other.
In time during easter we will hear the bible passage that speaks of the ‘Curtain in the temple’ being torn down — people would be seen and would see clearly. The truth is revealed. How true can we be?
I thank you for your contribution to the work that is about to begin.
May God continue to inspire this congregation as it faces the future with energy and enthusiasm.