Things we found inside our building:
• A tiny pink beaded chandelier, hung inside a room painted entirely pepto bismal pink.
• A disembodied plastic head and a kicked over chair. The head is from a dummy, the kind used for displaying wigs or perhaps hats.
• An oversized chalkboard which I wonder briefly if I can salvage before realizing it is covered in droppings from birds or perhaps bats.
• An abandoned work boot, left upright on the staircase.
• Stacks of floor tiles and ceiling shingles.
• An ornate side table, chipped gilded gold and carved into an elephant.
• An old fridge we haven’t yet opened, for fear of what might be inside.
• A hole to the sky, a blue patch in the dusty grimness of the space.
• A crumbling fireplace, also painted pink.
• A broom, standing on a landing next to a tangle of clothes and shingles.
• An upended bathtub
And this is only a small portion of the several-dumpster-fulls of stuff, of history, we already cleaned out from this space.
The past matters, each of these pieces represents a human, a life, a community, a dream. The question is, how can we honor it? We recognize that we are building on what has gone before us. And that we are hopefully beginning something new while continuing a story that has already been written and which the Lord has never stopped writing. There is a history, and we want to treat it with tenderness and awe. With grace and hopefulness. My question as we move forward is always: what is the bigger story? What are we entering into and how can we join the ways Jesus is already at work in this neighborhood and building?