The Silent Church

I am sitting alone in our church. It is just after 10:00. Activities for the day have ended, mine just finishing. I’ve been painting Vacation Bible School projects since 9 a.m., with a couple hours off for dinner. I love having that one thing that I love and that I get to do unexpectedly on some of my craziest days. It is solace for me to paint large sweeping lines of color on giant canvases. To blend one shade with another creating a new part of the painting. I love seeing a finished product come together after tiny little parts are all placed just so. Satisfaction is setting the paint brush down, stepping back and watching the colors and lines blend into one intentional piece.

I have one piece left. One that will have to wait until tomorrow. One large canvas. But my eyes are tired, my hands are cracked from multiple washings and my body is growing weary. The walk across the parking lot is not one I’m looking forward to.

I find myself sitting alone, in a silent church that not long ago heard laughter and watched as it’s occupants shared dessert and scripture together. As they held spontaneous prayer together. As the younger generation spent time and learned together. As it’s four walls watched community repeat itself around the same round tables where community happened last Wednesday, and the Wednesday before, and the Wednesday before. And every Sunday in between.

I am sitting alone on the floor in the food service area, with my back against the kitchen wall and the serving counter just above my head. The worship music from the sanctuary’s sound booth has finished. I am listening to the clock tick the minutes away watching the owl I just finished painting watch me from his place across the room and enjoying a few moments of silence.

Few things are as beautiful to me as a church dimly lit, falling back into it’s resting place for the night after a day of long activities. Like coming home after a long day of work or play and enjoying the soft cushions of the couch, or the warmth under a thick blanket is where I rest at this moment.

In the comfort of a welcome place filled with love and God, it’s tables and chairs, it’s floors and counters, it’s rooms, it’s sanctuary, it’s spaces-all evidence of life well lived.

I walked past the owl just before sitting here in this little cubby underneath the counter, silently reminding myself that despite not feeling like he’s the best of my best work, he is what he is and that’s enough.

It was then that the Holy Spirit reminded me of the same. I am what I am, and that is enough. Why? Because God has fashioned me. Regardless of what I feel like from one day to the next, regardless of any kind of failure I think has marked my day I was reminded by way of the wise old owl that God loves me despite my feelings of inadequacy. He is bigger than those feelings and my strength is found in Him,and only in Him.

The silent church tonight has been a blessing to me.


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