Wednesday, September 06, 2006


The date has almost arrived when two of Mount Vernon Place UMC's buildings will be closed. In fact, all of the church's belongings must be moved out of our two educational buildings by this Friday in order for demolition permits to be in hand by December. And everything seems to be in a state of disruption.

We have started a 4:00 p.m. worship service two blocks down the street at Asbury UMC -- a space in which we will remain until our sanctuary renovation is finished in December of 2007. We have had two yard sales. We have put our remaining things in storage. And, we now have holes in our walls.

While the winds of Friday's storm blew out a window on the third floor, this hole is not the result of a storm. Rather, this hole represents an effort to give to others.

Deuteronomy 24:19 says, "When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back and get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings."

Now I have gleaned countless cantaloupes in North Carolina. I have bagged hundreds of sweet potatoes with youth from around the country. I am familiar with the hunger relief efforts of the Society of St. Andrew. However, I have never before thought about gleaning a building.

Our minister of music, Sally Long, has done an incredible job of contacting different organizations who may be able to use the doors, the lights, the air conditioners, the ceiling fans, and many other items in the two buildings about to be demolished. Today, one organization picked up more than a dozen air conditioning window units. They are all shapes and sizes, all models and makes. And soon they will be installed in the homes of individuals who have weathered the summer heat of 2006 with fans but who will be able to choose to enjoy air conditioning in their home when the summer heat returns next year.

It has been a blessing to see different needs being met by things that would have otherwise been left for demolition and dumpsters. Once again, I have realized how much we take for granted -- lights, ceiling fans, doors, hardware, windows. We toss so much aside when it is no longer needed instead of thinking how what we are placing in the trash may be someone else's treasure.

God, help us all to be better stewards of what you have given to us. Teach us once again that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. Help us to share what we have with those around us. Amen.

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