It's moving time at Mount Vernon Place. A dedicated group of men from Federal Moving and Storage arrived today for a massive moving job. During the next three days these men will take hundreds of pictures, nine pianos, thousands of books, several dozen hymnals, many choir robes, a ton (at least the boxes seemed to way a ton!) of dishes, a lot of furniture, several toys, and many other items to a nearby storage unit. The things will remain in storage until the renovation and restoration work is completed in December of 2007.
One of the most difficult things for the movers to load today was our pipe organ. The organ does not fit on the elevator. It's only way in and out of the sanctuary is through the front doors -- the doors through which one can enter only after ascending some twenty stone steps. The movers had to descend these same steps with a heavy, expensive, bulky organ in their hands. As I watched them carry the instrument down the steps, all I could do was hold my breath, snap a few shots, and hope for the best.
As we have been preparing things for storage many thoughts have gone through my mind. One of them is, "Should we trust the movers to care for this item or these items?" "Will the movers be able to keep these things safely for us for fifteen months?"
For example, I found this incredible picture of Mount Vernon Place today, and all I could think about is, "Perhaps this picture is too valuable for storage."
After all, look at it! There is no way we could replace this picture. I wanted desperately to hide the picture away -- to put it on my wall at home where it could safely hang until it could be hung in the new church.
I did not bring the picture home with me, however. Nor did I bring any of the other amazing pictures home tonight. I left them instead for the movers to pack, carry away, and store.
And all afternoon I have thought about the things that have been entrusted to me. I have thought about how my friends have told me many secrets and longings, trusting me to keep what they tell me to myself. I have thought about all that God has given to me, trusting me to be a wise steward of God's generous gifts. And I have thought about how the precious people of Mount Vernon Place for whom I am privileged to be pastor have trusted me with their spiritual needs. What daunting, humbling, and remarkable gifts I have been given.
I pray I never drop, damage or lose whatever it is that has been entrusted to my care.