Sunday, June 30, 2013
A few days ago we made a trip to Savannah without using the faster expressway. Traveling down a two lane highway for the sixty or so miles between here and Savannah made for a slower journey, but as is always the case, there is more to see. Tunnels of pine trees get replaced by open landscape bringing houses, fields, and sky into view. As we approached Savannah, I found myself anticipating one spot. Our trip carried us through an area where we lived when I was an early adolescent. When I saw the Woodlawn United Methodist Church which was my church home for a couple of years, I was a little more than surprised. I knew the four lane road had eaten some of the land in front of the church, but I did not know the building would have a sign in front of it reading, "For Sale." I was looking for a church logo and only saw a "For Sale" sign.
I guess I had heard somewhere in the recent years that the church had been closed, but still it was a shock. It always saddens me a bit to see sacred space abandoned. Back when I was there as a young teenager, no one was thinking about the day when the church on the corner would no longer exist. Instead, it was a place where people prayed for the future and worked for the growth of the church. There are all kinds of reasons given for the closing of churches, but none of them really erases the sadness. Churches are not supposed to be closing, but apparently, some do.
No doubt the remaining remnant still present when the doors were locked for the last time have scattered to some other congregation. Some might look back and see wasted effort by so many since the church on the corner did not last as long as someone's dreams and prayers. But, to reach such a conclusion would be a mistake. The Word teaches us that nothing done for God, whether it is sermon, or service, or prayers is wasted. Whatever is done in His name has a life that a locked door and a "For Sale" sign cannot take away. What is done for Him is always like good seed planted in fertile soil. It will bear fruit long after the doors are closed for the last time.