Gift #552: Church in the Theater

Today was a bittersweet day for me and my church.  This was our last service in our theater and next Sunday we will begin meeting in our brand new building.  We said goodbye to nearly six years of setting up the stage and auditorium each Sunday, hanging children’s class signs over theater rooms, setting out our church signs amid the theater posters, and installing nursery toys and equipment in the small party rooms.  We also said goodbye to the smell of fresh popcorn as we left the theater each Sunday after second service.  I’ll certainly miss that.  During our service we reminisced about the blessings we had received in that theater and rejoiced over the ones we know will come.  I cried as I listened to the prayers we offered for the last time there.  While I’m excited about our move and our chance to have a building dedicated for ministry, I have loved worshiping in the theater and I have dreaded this day of goodbyes.  I’ve pondered on what it was that I loved so much about having church in a theater and why I don’t want to leave that.  For the past two weeks I’ve been thinking about it.  I came to realize that meeting in the theater for the past years has changed my view of God.  Our theater-church was a living testament that any place can be sacred.   Week after week we’ve felt God’s presence as we worshiped Him and as He changed our lives.  Every person in our congregation has a God-story to tell of encountering Him in that theater.  In those four walls, hearts were healed, lives were filled with hope, addictions were broken, marriages were restored, families built, relationships were made whole, the sting of death was defeated, and love flowed down.  Every week that theater was our home, where we were reminded that we were loved by our God and by each other.  I loved that all this happened without a “church building.”  It is living proof to me that God meets us anywhere.   And if any place can become sacred, then everyplace is.  My years at that theater have taught me that God shows up in our lives everywhere – in our living rooms, the grocery store, our commute, our jobs;  in a thousand everyday, common moments we can hear the refrain of heaven.   This is how I’ve learned to worship, how I’ve learned what it means to have relationship with God.  It is to pull the sphere of my life into the realm of the divine.  It is to find His hand in every circumstance, to feel His heart beat in every moment, to respond with thankfulness that He is near, and to rejoice that God has made everywhere a sacred place.

Our church flags outside the theater

Our church flags outside the theater

 

"Our God Saves" was the first song we sang as a congregation.  We sang it together again today closing out our time at the theater

“Our God Saves” was the first song we sang as a congregation. We sang it together again today closing out our time at the theater

Blessings to you,
Sarah

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