Something very important happens to a church and its congregation when the symbols inside of a church start to become signs of a bigger reality. We have symbols all over our lives, but in the church these symbols can take on very sacred meaning when we begin to see the mystical reality of God’s presence that they point to. 

Let me show you what I mean. You probably haven’t been inside your church in a while. So let’s take a quick walk through it and, as we do, I’ll point out some of the symbols that you’re used to seeing in there that have begun to point to a higher truth in our faith lives. 

STOP 1: The Lenten Wreath just inside the main door. Do you remember seeing this? It’s our Lenten symbol that Debbie Howell and I placed at the entrance table. It’s still there!  Can you see how the dried stems have been made into a wreath, signifying the wilderness of Lent that we are entering, but also will be coming through? The little nest is there to remind us of new life that our Lenten journey will lead us to … and the “Amazing Grace” sign tells us that we will make it through not because we deserve it or earned it – but solely because of the “amazing grace” of our God. And, of course, the wooden plaque in front is what our journey is really all about … More Jesus in our life by Easter 2020! 

Stop 2: The Amaryllis plant at the top of the stairs. Do you remember this? It all began with a memorable (infamous?) Children’s Moment during Advent last year. The Village Kids planted this during church and we vowed to wait and watch as it grew, just as we wait and watch for Christmas and the arrival of the Christ child. Well, it finally did bloom, sometime after Christmas – in God’s perfect time! – And now it sits in dormancy as we wait for the next flower to appear. By the way … I put a little water in the pot as I walked up to it yesterday. God is always moving and growing in our lives. I wonder when the next big flower will bloom.

Stop 3: At the entrance to the Sanctuary. What a beautiful site! Do you remember what this looks like? Even in the darkness of midday, with only the chancel lights on, God’s radiance fills or Sanctuary with the wonderful and unique green hue of peace and comfort and joy. Can you find your seat? Let’s all take a moment to find our seats and sit together for a few minutes … as we will do again when the crisis passes. This is the House of the Lord! Amen! 

Stop 4: At the foot of the Lord’s Table. I hope you haven’t forgotten about our display of shoes! These shoes are more than symbols. They point to the spiritual reality of the journey we are all on together. All these different types of footwear representing all the different types of people we are – and yet, each and every one of us walking to commune with Jesus at this Table. That is our life’s work and our daily walk. Together. One flock. One Shepherd. One Journey. Vine Street Christian Church! 

Stop 5: Home Sweet Home. And now we rise from the journey to the destination. From the shoes that represent our daily walk together, to the culmination of our life of faith together – to commune with Christ our Lord. Is Communion only a symbol to you? Or, is it the real thing? The reality of this Table is different from any other table on earth. It is at this Table where our faith comes alive! Where the Bible becomes Living Word! Where Jesus meets us, and loves us unconditionally! And where His sacrifice continues to be made so that we can be free from sin and plan our next life in eternity with His Father. Don’t settle for this Table as only a symbol. There is too much truth here, and too much love.   

Stop 6: Lord, Hear Our Prayers. As we leave this sacred space together, we stop in the Loft to pause for prayer. As you’re reading this right now, let us all do that. Hit the pause button on your mind, and enter into the quiet beauty of silence and solitude. Wait. Wait. OK … There it is! Now let us join our hearts together as we pray – Lord, thank you for Vine Street Christian Church. Thank you for the variety of people it has brought into my life. Thank you for my church family and the love I experience here. Thank you for turning these various symbols of our faith into signs of the reality and truth that you are with us today. Our church is a living sign of the reality of God in the world … and the Body of Christ among us. Finally, thank you for this prayer … it reminds us of all the goodness and grace that one small group of people can hold together. As it is right now – holding us together, even when we cannot be together. Amen. 

Let Peace Abound & Keep Hope Alive! 

With Love for All … Pastor Bob <><