Yesterday was a long day at First Baptist. I got to church a little after eight in the morning and left a little after eight at night. But it was a great day, and in so many ways it lived up to the promise of Pentecost. This morning my mind is a kaleidoscope of images. Here are a few of them:
- The joy of sitting on the steps with the children during worship, telling them the Holy Spirit is like “the best babysitter you’ve ever had.”
- Watching the congregation rise to its feet to thank David Powers for twenty years of dedicated service as Minister of Communications.
- Seeing a young man whose name I don’t even know leap to his feet to push Danny Taylor’s wheelchair out of the sanctuary during the fire drill.
- Rick Belflower getting tears in his eyes as he talked about the crime of human trafficking and how it robs children of their childhood.
- Hearing Bart Dalton praise Skyler Cumbia at her graduation ceremony for the way she inspired other youth to engage in selfless service.
- Sitting in the chapel at the healing service, watching Shawnae Lacy fight back the tears as she told the story of losing her foster daughter to cancer.
- Sitting in the sanctuary later, looking up toward heaven (and feeling it) as the youth and adult choirs ringed the balcony and sang, “In this Very Room.”
- Clapping my hands, laughing, and singing along as they finished last night’s concert with “If You’re Happy and You Know It Say ‘Amen.’”
I was happy, and I knew it.
At some point in yesterday’s sermon I said that there was good news in the story of Pentecost because it wasn’t so much about going to church as it was about being the church. Yesterday I watched the members and friends of First Baptist being the church all day long, but I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t gone. While heaven has been touching down all over the greater Richmond metropolitan area in the last 252 days, one of the most reliable places to see it happen is in that building at the corner of Monument and the Boulevard on Sundays. I saw it happen yesterday,
Over and over again.