OK, fair warning: This BLOG is probably not what you think it’s going to be about.
Today I moved our beautiful sanctuary piano from the “pulpit side” to the “lectern side” so that the band can use it for this coming JAZZ SUNDAY. As I did I remembered some years back when we made a significant “shift” in our pianos and organs…we “evolved” the musical use of the building because WE had evolved.
Since 2007 we have used Schuster Chapel more and more: weddings, funerals, Lenten Meditations, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise, and a Bible Studies (before we “evolved” into using the Theatre Lounge, which didn’t exist at that time.)
For a while, early on – when I was just a young child-pastor – I brought in my little keyboard into the Chapel to use for music. Some people asked, “Why don’t we just use the organ that is in here?” (Remember, we USED to have an organ in there?)
Yes, we did have an organ in the chapel. The organ was not the original, but still an antique. Unfortunately, it had gotten to the point of “un-fixability” as many of the stops “stopped” working, some keys, along with half of the pedals, didn’t play…and at one time while Dr. Randy was playing, the organ reared up like a stallion (musically) and started playing much louder than Dr. Randy intended. Although amusing to watch, it was yet another sign that it was time to say good-bye to what was probably a donation from a friend or member of the Church Family.
Shortly after that incident, we received a new, beautiful, Concert Grand piano for the Sanctuary. That meant moving the grand piano that had been in the Sanctuary downstairs to the Choir Rehearsal Room and moving the still very good spinet piano from the Choir Room to the Fellowship Hall to await its purpose. THEN, eventually, that piano moved to Schuster Chapel to replace the organ that was there….whew! (That organ, by the way, was donated to a local music store and repair shop – for parts.)
Times change. Needs change. The old Chapel organ, which probably fulfilled many needs in several places, went “home” to its “reward”, and is now parts of it are in other organs being used around the midwest. A grand piano brought new life to our Sanctuary, an older piano is moving from leading worship to accompanying the choir downstairs, and the piano that accompanied the choir will now be leading in worship and providing beautiful music for weddings and services…all because the Kingdom of God doesn’t stand still or move back – it always moves forward.
Like these pianos and organs we, as humans, get stuck in one place. In the Kingdom and in the Church, the ultimate reason for spiritual gifts and talents is to build the Kingdom, to support one another, and to BE the Body of Christ. As needs change, as congregations grow, we evolve. We also remember that God will redesign, or “evolve” us to fit best in the place needed for a specific time and place.
Some of you have taught Sunday School, but don’t anymore. Some of you sing but have never sung in the choir. Some of you have served as Elders and now serve as Deacons, some of you have served as Deacons and now serve as Elders. We all move upward and outward as the Kingdom of God changes, and that is how it should be.
Sometimes that growth is painful. We humans tend to like staying where we are, doing what we’ve always done, it’s comfortable there. The older we get, in body, the less likely we are going to want to do anything that requires change. But the Kingdom and Central Christian is constantly changing; we aren’t the same church as we were almost 15 years ago when I first stepped to the pulpit, or what we were 163 years ago. We have different needs and challenges, and some of us have had to step into new places within the church, outside of our comfort zones. But remember: God never calls us to a new place without going there first, equipping us and teaching us.
As we step into a new church year, next month, I urge you to once again ask God where He would like you, in this family-community we call Central. He may confirm your place, He may urge you, through a compelling passion, to move to something new, serve the church in a different way. Whatever you hear, act upon it. Listen closely and look around. Connect with one another and feel that “hunger & thirst” for the right thing.
And let us thank God that while many other churches struggle with attendance and apathy, we have a growing, thriving, joyful, changing and challenging community of faith, decorated with the many, many voices and colors that make the blue domes of Central Christian Church a fresh voice and vision of God in a city and county that is hungry and thirsty for love.