Sunday, June 30, 2013

Building Project

From the meticulous placing of survey stakes,
the first tentative scrapings of heavy equipment digging the basement,
concise placing of massive concrete blocks,
and synchronized pouring and finishing of concrete,
to the placing of floor, walls, and rafters,
giant crane lifting roof beams,
and complicated placing of the maze of wires, pipes, and septic components, the building addition to our church has become a reality. Did we truly envision how this would be?
 Throughout the entire process, each one has had to do their part.
First, the builders: individual workers - specialists in supervising, surveying, masonry, electrical systems, drainage, construction, roofing, finishing, ad infinitum - have needed to show up, prepared and able to do their job.
Then, the rest of us: also individuals with varying degrees of interest and ability to help in whatever way possible.
Some have the dedication, expertise, and time to devote many hours weekly to helping work on-site.
Others busily plan finishing work - painting, flooring, equipment, furnishings, sound system, and landscaping.
  Some offer encouragement, prayers, warm cookies, and smiles.
It has not all been a "piece of cake" because there have been unkind words, frowns, worried looks, and tense moments... sometimes more than just moments. Not all has gone smoothly or exactly as planned. Malfunctioning or missing equipment, incorrect materials, misunderstood information, unforeseen complications, and just plain "goofball" situations have a way of cropping up and muddying the waters, so to speak.
Flexibility has been needed - and will continue to be - to deal with all the messiness of this building project. 
I have no doubt that we will, ultimately, "get 'er done". I firmly believe that this group of people does whatever they set their mind to do; this building has been a looong time coming!
As summer passes on and the building proceeds towards completion, it is time for each person to ask themselves what more they can do.
In many ways, the completion of this building is really just a beginning. We each must seriously contemplate and plan for whatever we are able to contribute, whether that be money, committee work, physical labor, food, prayer, encouragement, and/or ideas and planning  for future uses of all this new space.
Someday in the future, each of us, our children, grandchildren, or friends will look back and remember this building experience.
All of the planning, money, blood, sweat, tears, satisfaction, and joy will be remembered as a major milestone in the history of this small church.
We need to be sure we are each a part of it now.
In life, any building project is uncertain, messy, challenging - yet exhilarating. Still, to change and grow we must build upon what is today until it becomes tomorrow. Blindly, or with determination, we must step forth in faith...

And exactly when will this building process be complete? Probably never - and that is a good thing.

In him the whole building is joined together
and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
And in him you too are being built together
to become a dwelling
in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:21-22

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beach Exploration: Rock

"Earth and Sky, Woods and Field,
Lakes and Rivers,
the mountains and the seas,
are excellent schoolmasters,
and teach some of us
more than we can ever learn from books."
Sir John Lubbock

Each beach is different, one from the other, but in a singular way they are the same. Where water meets land the shore is covered by sediment - sand, gravel or larger rock fragments. Sometimes mud. Here, amid loud roar of incoming waves and quiet hiss of outgoing tides, signs of the earth's vast history may be found - if one knows how to read them.

I do not know how I may seem to others,
but to myself I am only a small child
wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge,
every now and then finding
a small bright pebble to be contented with.”
It begins with awareness, and then careful observation. Rocks and water have been here for longer than we can comprehend and the tug-of-war between them is ongoing and endless.

The tiniest grains of sand were once mighty boulders, which themselves were once part of the bones of the earth.

Dynamic and restless, this sphere shakes, buckles, and changes through the action of tremors, eruptions, and tumultuous weather.  Heat and pressure from inside shift and move huge chunks of rock upward, forming plateaus and mountains.

On the surface, wind and water are relentless, slowly wearing away the rock and moving it to other places. What began in the fiery bowels of the earth is worn down and its pieces eventually re-formed into layers of new rock.

With enough layers, enough weight, and enough time, much of the surface rock will be pushed back down into the earth where heat and pressure re-form it yet again.

Often, when this new rock finally emerges to the surface again, evidence of the mixing of different rock pieces is evident.

In the end, all is recycled - for the rock and the water have always been here, although the form may change countless times.
River stones remain, while water flows away.”
Romanian Saying


They are here still, although we may pay no attention to their form or function. And here - at the very edge of the water and the land - life clings to both.
“When all the water has gone,
only the largest stones
will still remain in the riverbed.”
African Saying
"Water is fluid, soft and yielding.
But water will wear away rock,
which is rigid and cannot yield.
As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding
will overcome whatever is rigid and hard.
This is another paradox: what is soft is strong."
"A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth.
The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.
Even so, life is but an endless series of little details,
actions, speeches, and thoughts.
And the consequences whether good or bad
of even the least of them are far-reaching."

Truly, we are all connected...