Thursday, April 23, 2015
Recently, I found myself approaching a small town in west Georgia called Geneva. Miles before the city limit sign, I started anticipating being in a particular place in that town. Geneva is not a big place. In fact, if you blink once or twice while going from one side of it to the other, you just might miss it entirely. A few stores, a few more houses, a post office, and a lot of dreams and hopes that died are about all that is left.
So, what was there to anticipate? Years ago there was a Methodist Church on its main road. I used to see it often when I lived in a nearby town. But, like other places housed in buildings in Geneva, it closed. The last sermon was preached and the people scattered. After a few years the building was sold and moved to another location where it serves another purpose. In subsequent years of passing by that spot, I always looked that way. What I usually saw was a vacant spot grown up in weeds. Uncared for was the only way to describe the holy spot. My recent trip revealed that it was still a empty space, but someone had cleaned it up.
I found myself wondering all sorts of things as I journeyed on past it. Did the new owner cut the weeds, or was it done by the some act of the town council? Why does the ground remain vacant? Do people still look that way as I did and remember a Methodist Church? Can space made holy ever really be un-holy even though it becomes empty or filled with activities that speak of evil instead of good? Are the prayers of the people of that abandoned and disappeared church still being worked out in the Kingdom of God? Is it not still present and alive in that community through the faithful living of some of those who sat in its pews and knelt at its altar? Could it be true that churches can live long years after the church building disappears? And, just maybe....for an eternity.