I was putting my lunch into the refrigerator one Tuesday when I happened to notice a locked door that I hadn’t seen before. Curious, I tried my key and the old door opened! What I found was a portal to another time. It was an age in which dozens of cherubs wore black and white robes and sang in the choir. Where the worship services included a time to pray for our soldiers overseas and a message to conserve rationed goods and contribute to the “women’s sewing league” which meets every week to make blankets for “our boys.” I found the original deeds to church buildings and parsonages that have long ago been sold – one from as long ago as 1837! And there were Board of Ministry meeting minutes from the 1980’s and certificates from the 1990’s. It was a treasure trove and a trip back in time. It was a glimpse
into what church used to be like. When families brought their babies and children of all ages attended Sunday School. When the church was, for many, the center of life in the community.
We all know that the times have changed. Priorities have shifted and the lives of some people have gotten so busy that they have drifted away from the church. There is no need to discuss the why here, there are many scholars and pundits who have studied those changes and that is not my aim. My point is this, so much is different... And yet, God is still speaking. The people who worship in our building today still have a heart for service – providing car seats for refugee babies and donations for the unhoused and food for the hungry. You still gather each week for worship in person and in ways that our ancestors could never have imagined. We sing the old hymns and new favorites around a piano that pre-dates us all. There may not be a sewing circle, but we meet together on Tuesday nights for fellowship and prayer – which was really all those circles were about... We help one another in more ways than those who came before us could ever have dreamed. I found a portal to the past – a time that has gone and will never be again – but the future is bright for United. We are God’s people chosen for such a time as this. And may God’s blessings continue now and always.