It had been over 17 years since I last sat in that place for that specific purpose. Back then I was a student. Today I took my students. Today it looks more like a chapel space than it did back then. Beautiful stained glass and an altar to match. A pulpit now where a podium once stood. A place for baptismal remembrance as you enter. The atmosphere itself was just as I remembered it. Busy. Joyous. Reverent. Peaceful. Home.
They start each service with the common doxology. They’re uninhibited and they make a joyful noise. Today my husband got to lead them. That was a little strange. The last time he sat in that place for that purpose he was a student too. This time he got to share God’s word and a few of his own.
Children of God from various times in our lives share this space. Students from my very first years of teaching, younger siblings of his students from his first years, friends’ sons and daughters, adopted siblings, members of our current congregation, former bosses and professors. It feels like an odd sampling of every time period of our lives. Intricacies and foundations. God brought us each to this place and it is good. Very good.
I’ll be there again. Often. Even if someone else is leading. It won’t take 17 years, maybe not even 17 days. I’ve said before that I love my church body. This is one of the reasons why. Even when it’s been 17 years, it still feels completely, comfortingly, like home.