I am not a fan of fall until it forces me to change. Then I become drawn into its warm colors and rest in its softer light and cooler temperatures. My love for summer is so strong that only the gentle touch of autumn can settle my soul. Right now, I am in the middle. I am in the middle of many things. Our church is also in the middle of what was and what will be.
Two years ago we started a discussion about a new playground. We talked and stopped talking. We reviewed every option available. We debated all our options. We ran it into the ground but its little head kept popping up until Carl Stier, Jeff Davis, Michael Penn and a truck load of volunteers came along. Then the idea took shape like a new seed rising from the dirt.
Twenty years ago, a group of young fathers still living out their childhoods with their young children came together with wood and nails and built the playground they had always desired. It had a big slide, tire swing, ramp and fortress top. They went up and down the ramp with their little ones remembering their past and making memories for the children. It was a grand celebration upon its completion.
Fifteen years ago when we expanded the sanctuary and added the educational wing, a crane was used to move the large structure from the back corner of the property to the side. Fencing was added by an Eagle Scout and over the years it was maintained with new supports, spindles and an occasional spread of new mulch. But the sun and the heat and the moisture eventually had their say. The structure leaned and sagged and buckled in places. It was no longer safe.
Three weeks ago another truck load of workers came. This group was a mix of young parents, grandpas and grandmas who had even greater dreams. Some knew the history of the old playground. Some were there when it was first erected. Now their hair is grayer and some of their children have children. This group with coffee cups in hand in the early morning took sledge hammers, drills and shovels and removed the past.
We are now in the middle. With steel and welding tools and power augers, a new structure is coming out the ground. Each supporting leg sunk and cemented seventeen inches into the ground. This structure will have two slides, a larger tire swing and multiple swings for little ones and older ones, balance beams, monkey bars, chin up bars and parallel bars. It is made to last long after these grandpas and grandmas will be around to see the children’s children play on its arms.
We are in the middle now. Old men and young men came together. Older girls and younger women came together. Golf games and lake retreats grew out of this time of fellowship and construction. New visions of what tomorrow and this new fellowship that we call church are evolving into – On line pictorial directories, Facebook live, ever changing web pages, and cell phone movies.
I don’t change as easy as I used to, but a new season of the church is drawing me into it. I am starting to love it. It is different but it has its own beauty. I am sure it will have its adjustments, but I am open to them because the ones that I have experienced aren’t that bad. But for now, I am just in the middle.
In His Service