The process of renovating the sanctuary at Mount Vernon Place is nearing completion. We'll be back in the building in less than four months, and I can hardly wait to have a worship space of our own once again. I can hardly wait to show up on Sunday mornings with the candles already in place, knowing that everything that needs to go on top of the altar is already there. I am excited. I am very excited.
I love what is happening inside the building. I love the new windows that cast light inside. I love the new bathrooms with shower facilities. I love the walls. I love the new stairwells. I love the openness of the new entry to the sanctuary - a door in which all will enter whether in a wheel chair or on two feet. I love the openness of the chancel area. I love how the completely white walls showcase the stained glass windows. I am excited. I am very excited.
Yesterday, the chair of the Steering Committee and I took a group of church members through the building. Don and I have worked countless hours on the building. We love walking inside and seeing the changes taking place. We were excited about taking people in the building to show them what is happening - individuals who have not been inside the building in a year.
We were excited. We were excited until we realized that not many positive things were being said. The individuals with us seemed more ready to point out what is different - what is missing - than all of the great changes that are happening. They said that the hallways look more narrow. They wondered why some ceilings have been lowered. They commented on how much space the new energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system takes. They then continued to focus on gold paint missing from the sanctuary - paint that was not part of the original structure and paint that eventually turns black.
It was hard not to be discouraged. It was hard not to be frustrated. We were so excited. They had little positive to say.
Why is it that we always look for the negative instead of looking for the positive? Why is it that we are so good about sizing something up by its appearance instead of looking deep within? How is it that we are so quick to draw a conclusion without taking the time to search within or find out more information? And, why is it that we too often prefer the past instead of embracing the future?
Our current sermon series at Mount Vernon Place is "UNconventional Wisdom." We are looking at the unconventional wisdom of God - wisdom that says the people who are considered the lowest in society are the ones who are blessed, wisdom that welcomes on the inside all who are on the outside, wisdom that is based upon a cross where one was crucified, wisdom that describes the good life as having nothing to do with power or possessions. I love being reminded of the unconventional wisdom of God because it is so different from what we are accustomed to. The unconventional wisdom of God tells me to look for the good in every person and every situation - something that is not always easy to do - but something that always reaps great rewards.
Dear Lord, please help us to be more unconventional.