Just recently I acquired a new piano student. She attends a charter school in our town and I go there after school to give her a lesson once a week. Her mother sent me very detailed instructions on how to get there but I didn't need them. It was the address of the first church I attended as a Christian and that eventually we pastored in. I hadn't been in that building for nearly 18 years so when I entered I expected that I wouldn't recognize much of anything. I was mistaken.
When I entered the lobby, it looked pretty much the same structurally. The carpet had been replaced by tile. That's understandable since the building houses a middle school. The offices were left intact. The sanctuary had been divided in half with the back becoming 3 separate classrooms, but as I walked into the rooms bordering the outside walls, I noticed that the wood beams that created the A-frame design of the old sanctuary were still in place. I proceeded through the rooms and into a large room with steps on one side that went up to a platform--the front of the old sanctuary. There were 10 or so kids flying around the room engaging in an intense game of dodge ball. It seemed odd for dodge ball to be going on there because the carpet had not been changed and the front of the sanctuary remained nearly untouched. It was almost like I was in a dream.
By the end of our lesson, pretty much everyone had gone from the building so I strolled back into the dodge ball court. The auditorium became again for me a sanctuary. I walked to the front right side and stood in the exact location where I had stood as I asked the Lord to forgive me of my sin. I almost felt again the feeling of what seemed to be a 500 lb. weight being lifted from shoulders as the Lord erased my sin debt and declared my account justified! Then I walked to the left side of the sanctuary and stood where I had stood as the Lord gloriously baptized me in the Holy Spirit and gave me a new and wonderful language to speak to Him in prayer. I walked up on the platform and remembered the morning I dedicated my daughter-a miracle baby- to the Lord and I stood over the baptistery (now boarded over) as I recalled the day my husband and I were baptized into the faith together. What a blessing. Then I stood where I had been sitting on that first "monumental" day when the Lord spoke so clearly to me from His Word that He had heard and answered my prayers for my dying grandmother.
Even though church services had not been held in that building for a very long time it almost seemed to me that the place was still, somehow holy. It seemed that a residue of the holy still lingered there. In that place, I had been taught the Word of God, I had observed and experienced many miracles and supernatural events, life-long friendships had been forged there and I had been raised in the Lord by a loving Pastor and congregation. I wonder if there is a residue of the holy that lingers, like the power that lingered on the buried bones of the Prophet Elisha. I hope so. I pray that there is. There is a generation there that is in danger of being lost.
Regardless, that spot will always be sacred to me, if only in my heart. It was there that God completely and forever changed me and set my life in a totally different direction. I plan to spend more time in that place over the coming weeks. It gives me cause to remember and be grateful. It reminds me that small beginnings are not to be despised, but treasured because they are craftsmanship of God. It seems a lifetime has passed since my first days in that building. I guess in a lot of ways, it has. But as I traveled back in my mind to those times, my heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving to the God who drew me there in the first place.
Perhaps the Lord will give me the opportunity to share with some of the people there why I am so drawn to the dodge ball court! I pray so. I pray that I won't be the only one with sacred spots in that room.