Last week was abuzz with activity around the church building. One of those activities was carried out by two really nice guys from Long Electric, Nate and Clint, who brought a lift into the sanctuary and worked for two days replacing all the light bulbs in those fixtures. My inner seven-year-old was curious about their work so I found some priestly excuses to be in the sanctuary from time to time. And I watched them.
They worked quietly, almost meditatively. There was something beautiful about the care and gentleness in their work. I mean, I know they were handling fragile, really expensive bulbs. But in the quiet, and in that space, it felt…I don’t know…holy.
Nate and Clint finished up late Wednesday. As I stood in the sanctuary, with all those beautiful lights, the space felt transformed. It is radiant! The church is full of light!
In the Episcopal Church we speak of sacraments as “outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 857) As I stood in the sanctuary Wednesday I was struck by the sacramental nature of the light bulbs – outward signs pointing toward something holy and timeless.
We speak of the church building, but we also know the Church is you and me and all God’s people around the world. It is made up of saints who have gone on to glory and of saints as yet unborn. The outward sign is just light bulbs – sacraments usually are made of common things like water, bread and wine, after all. The inward grace to which those bulbs point is the reality that yes, the Church is full of light! YOU are full of light! And yes, these bulbs will burn out eventually. But they point toward that Light that has come into the world, that shines in the darkness, and which darkness cannot overcome. (John 1:5)
The way we interact with our building impacts our spiritual lives as individuals and as a group. It also impacts the spiritual life of our neighborhood. Our building gives us a place to gather, but it gives us much more. If we will let it, it also talks to and teaches us about God. It takes money to care for our building and, you have to admit, that doesn’t initially seem very interesting or spiritual. But oh what wonderful stories that care for our building can tell us and the people around us about God!
Thank you Nate and Clint for changing out the bulbs. Thank you, you who donated money to buy the bulbs and you who give regular offerings, for telling us the old, old story of that Light once more. Thank you Tom Pizzuti, Pete Tinsley and anyone who has been on the vestry for your holy, sacramental work caring for our building.
Now get out there and shine!