Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Crossing the Street

We crossed the street on Sunday morning. While I cross many streets throughout the week in downtown Washington, this crossing was a significant one as the entire Mount Vernon Place congregation crossed over 9th street from our church to another historic building in downtown D.C.

For the next twelve months, Mount Vernon Place will be worshipping in space that is not our own. The National Music Center at the Carnegie Library has graciously agreed to accept us as Sunday morning tenants while our 1917 building is being completely restored and renovated.

Our new space is stunningly beautiful. It was built at the turn of the century, and many of our members remember coming to the building when it was the main library in Washington. Others remember the building as the City Museum in more recent years. It was wonderful to watch the reactions of these members on Sunday morning as they recalled different times when they had been in the building before.

The space is a gift to us in so many ways. It is, without a doubt, the closest space available that we could find for our Sunday morning worship. I can sit in my new office in the trailer and see the building from my window! It is also a space that we can use for Sunday school, 11:00 worship, and coffee hour following. Furthermore, it is a space where we have been received warmly and wonderfully. We have received incredible hospitality from the staff of the National Music Center -- hospitality that has called to mind the passage from Hebrews that instructs us to "not neglect to show hospitality to strangers."

I have realized often in the last week that our needs as a congregation are being met by our community. A local construction company has set up a trailer for our offices and gathering space during the week. A local organization has opened its doors for our Sunday worship. Our community is serving us in powerful, important, blessed ways.

It is my hope and my prayer that as our needs are met by the community in the coming weeks that we will also be reminded, as a church, how we are called to serve the community around us. I pray we will take every opportunity that we have to show hospitality to strangers when the doors of our building open again. I pray we will be ready to serve others as we are being served now -- whether the other is one in need of food, or shelter, or companionship, or clothing, or anything else.

Thank you, God, for taking care of our needs. Thank you for opening doors for us when other doors closed. Thank you for our neighbors who are caring for our needs. God, use this time to teach us, to shape us, to mold us, and to stretch us. Prepare us for all of the ways that you are going to call us to serve in the years to come. Make us instruments of your peace and of your goodness. Amen.

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