When I was growing up at First Methodist Church in Houston, I often attended worship after our youth met on Sunday evening. The service always closed with an opportunity to pray at the altar and that became a lovely moment for me each week. There was something about our beautiful sanctuary that was comforting, and I felt truly God’s presence in that very room.
The night before Kelly and Andy got married was a treasured memory. We had finished the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, most of the items for that day had been checked off the list, and our home was full of people, activity, joy, laughter, and chaos! In the midst of all of that, I felt a need to step away from the chaos and settle my soul. I wanted to go sit for a moment, to be present in the quiet, sacred space of our sanctuary, envision our daughter walking down the aisle with her Daddy to Andy, then to kneel at the altar and pray that God would bless their marriage and our family. There was so much going on that I knew I wouldn’t be missed if I just slipped out quietly.
I told Bob my plan and drove up to the church but couldn’t get my key to work. After trying several doors, I finally found a door that worked… the sanctuary was only a few steps away! As I rounded the corner, I discovered that our facilities team was in the narthex waxing and buffing the floors between where I was and the sanctuary. It was late. I was surprised and disappointed, but I wouldn’t dare walk across those beautiful floors while they worked. These men had stayed there for us, preparing the rooms we would need for our very special wedding. I was both humbled and grateful!
As I turned to leave, I smiled as I remembered the signature song at one of our churches and I began to sing the words:
In this very room there’s quite enough love for one like me,
And in this very room there’s quite enough joy for one like me,
And there’s quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,
For Jesus, Lord Jesus … is in this very room.
Although we find comfort in gathering with other Christians for worship, the important thing is that Christ is present. He is with us, not just at church, but in every room of our lives. This gentle reminder assured me that Christ was already there, even in my car as I had my quiet prayer time that night. During this Advent season, let us be ever mindful of God’s love for us as we prepare room in our hearts for the arrival of His greatest gift of all, His only son, Jesus Christ.
Marsha Long, Director of Hospitality Ministry