It’s Wednesday. I sit alone in an empty church sanctuary. The clock, hung high on the balcony, that (usually) keeps the preacher from causing us all to miss lunch on Sunday mornings glows bright blue in the darkness. It reads 6:41; that’s PM.
In the nearly empty building I can hear the youth pastor upstairs tuning his guitar and singing solo into a cold room. He is preparing for youth worship just as he does every Wednesday night. Alone, cold, singing his praise songs to only God and his beat up Peavy amp. His hours of sermon prep are finished… he’s just brushing the rust off of the guitar to warm up. I think youth pastors might get a little more respect if folks saw them this way. Working for hours on end because they love the kids. Working odd hours, working nights and weekends. Working for almost no pay and dealing with more drama than… well… more drama than a room full of teenagers.
Downstairs another of our members rattles around the kitchen making coffee for everyone.
In a very few minutes people will begin to file into the fellowship hall downstairs to join in a weekly bible study. Children will go to the nursery and youth will go upstairs for our worship service. After bible study many of the people here tonight will move into the sanctuary for choir practice. It’ll be warm by then. It’s the same as last week and the same as next week. It’s routine… it’s home.
For now, though, I am alone. I sit on a padded pew in the mostly dark. Light from a security light in the parking lot fades through the stained glass windows. I see the brass cross in the baptistery behind the choir loft. It looms large and cold, its brightness dulled by the darkness.
I pray. Not because God is in this place more than any other but just because He is here. It’s cool and dark and large. The space seats over 200 people on most Sundays and is filled with song and worship and preaching. There are people coughing, more so this time of year, and babies gurgling and teens whispering when they shouldn’t be. But not this night. This night it is just me and God. I pray for our youth pastor and our pastor and our worship pastor and his mom who’s been sick. I pray for Mr. Jimmy downstairs and for my wife. I pray for our members and for our secretary. I pray for the folks that will go to Salvation Army to feed the homeless this weekend and I pray for the block party that we’ll be throwing next weekend for the folks on the “west” side of town. I pray for me. I pray that we, all of us, glorify God. I asked, He answered… the same as He always does. It’s anything but routine… it’s Home.