Reflections on Renovation

Reveal Ribbon CuttingRenee Purtlebaugh shared these words as we cut the ribbon to reveal the renovation on Saturday, June 7.

Today is an enormously important day for our community of faith.

This morning as I sat eating breakfast, the view from my window was that of a beautiful summer day, filled with promise and potential and adventure as I anticipated gathering here with you this afternoon. The sun was shining, the leaves were gently blowing through the trees and I tried to imagine the sights and the sounds that we would experience together—the wonder that would surround each of us this day.

I imagined all eyes turned toward this green grass and the awareness that the construction fence is gone. I imagined that we would wonder just what we will see when we walk through the glass doors behind me. I imagined the moment when we would see the vivid colors and patterns and open spaces filled with light. I imagined children walking and running and delighting in spac- es designed for their way of learning. I imagined that we would see children leaning on ottomans, gazing out the window to see God’s good creation and the neighborhood we call home. I imagined that we would see youth building community in conversation around couches and tables. I imagined moments where the sacred and the everyday would be so close that we might not be able to tell them apart.

And so, after over a year of disorientation, dust and the noise of construction, we are finally here. This is the day!Reveal 1

This is the day when we gather in this neighborhood on this corner bearing witness to the work that God is doing in us and through us in 2014.

This is the day where the fence has come down, and this new entryway is open that we might continue inviting and welcoming people to be part of our community of faith.

This is the day where the glass in front of you is so transparent, so intriguing, that it invites others to look and to see and to enter this sacred place. And it is so transparent that we can stand within it, looking out, and be reminded that we are part of a larger community and city and world.

This is the day where stone and natural light and vivid colors and patterns within our space will remind us again to pause and notice God’s creativity.

This is the day where we renew our commitment to nurture young people in faithfulness. Where we promise again to sing the songs of faith and share the stories of Jesus with our children and our youth and with each other.

This is the day where we commit as boys and girls and teenagers and as adults to continue learning about, connecting with and listening closely for God.

This is the day when space and time stand still, when we step outside of the present moment to realize that we are but one part of Highland’s long history of following God’s call for our faith community.

This is the day where we renew our promise to be a beacon of God’s transforming hope and joy and peace and love for all people, on this corner of Grinstead and Cherokee.

As we stand in the shadow of the cloud of witness on this side of the Sanctuary stones and windows, we give thanks to God for our place in the story. And we trust that God will walk with us as we look toward a future filled with stories of love being built and encounters with the holy that we cannot yet know.

Guide us and encourage us, living God as we seek to be faithful to You. Come close to us as we come close to you, that we may continually be formed and transformed by your way of love.

Amen.