Razorblade in hand, Michael diligently scraped the lettering off the front window. As he did, the orange and brown logo that had graced the front entry of the church for nearly 10 years spilled to the ground.
“You should take a picture,” someone offered.
“I don’t want to,” I responded. “It’s too sad. It’s good, but sad.”
And back to work we went, readying the suite for the next tenant.
It’s mind-boggling to think of the ministry that’s transpired within those walls over a decade: Prayers, the number and breadth immeasurable. Salvations. Baby showers and christenings. Funerals. Ordinations, including my own. Packing shoeboxes for the homeless, gifting scooters and clothes to a needy family, watching in humility as a homeless woman washed the feet of one of our own. Children’s skits and glitter crafts. Dessert theaters, International women’s conferences. Worship nights. Personal and corporate revelation. Bible and book studies. Leadership training. Coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Games nights and movies. Diaper changes. Broken whispers. Tears. And laughter. Communion with God-and each other.
There were lots of things to mull as we pressed on.
Several more days worth of work were logged and our checklist of things to do finally started to dwindle. Still, with the clock ticking, I needed to prioritize our efforts. Even though the landlord hadn’t requested it, I wanted the windows to glisten, but acknowledged we might need to forgo that for something more pressing.
“Oh, they need it,” Marla said, or something close to that.
I didn’t realize it, but even though the vinyl letters had been scraped off, they left a small film behind. If you looked carefully you could still see the full outline of our name on the window. So, the day before we turned in the keys, when most of the work was done and the workers had left, I sprayed the window with cleaner and rubbed a spot. It was only when I was up close that I could see what Marla was talking about. The letters did stand out and I wasn’t sure if they were ever going to come off. I began to mentally calculate what the financial damage might be.
I remembered the night we had an evening luau in the courtyard, complete with tiki torches. It was spring, but still cold so we rented heat lamps. One was staged in front of the vacant suite across from ours, but it was too close to the plate glass window, the heat causing it to explode and shatter, in heart-pounding fashion. Chunks of glass cascaded to the ground. It cost $2,000 to replace the window.
Years later, my focus was on a different window as I wiped cleaner in a circle motion. I passed over the spot several times with no change, then, right before my eyes, the wording evaporated with each swipe. The symbolism was startling. It felt to me as if the entire past of Narratives Church was disappearing right before me. I took a couple of deep breaths as I kept my hand in motion; taking in the moment, while not succumbing to it. It really was just a moment; once the letters started to dissolve, the task went quickly. Within minutes there was no evidence the name had been there at all.
As I strained to see any remnants of the logo’s outline, it occurred to me that with the lettering gone the window also became invisible, while behind it, the lobby wall-freshly painted-came into full focus. Gone was the old. All that was left was the blank wall. A new perspective. A fresh canvas.
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – (Revelation 21:5)
Envisioning with you,
Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography/Unsplash