Archive | November, 2011

If These Walls Could Talk

12 Nov

I am the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Lillian, Texas.

At least, that’s what I used to be called.

Now I’m called the “Old Lillian Chapel”.

I don’t mind that. The church still uses me for many special occasions and I still am able to bring many memories to those who have been in this community for a long time.

I’ve seen a lot.

I’ve watched many a Pastor at the altar on Sunday morning praying for the message he would give in a few short hours. They were different men. They had different speaking styles. And none of them looked like the other. But they all had the same heart. They wanted their words to glorify God. And each prayer was basically the same. They wanted to empty themselves of any ego and let God’s spirit surge through them.

I would watch as some of those same Pastors would be at the altar late one weeknight… struggling. The weight of that job can be crushing at times and they knew they couldn’t do it on their own. I listened to them as they called out to God for help and direction. I would see by their expressions when God had answered.

I have watched as many have come to this same altar. Some were old. Some were young. All were weeping. And all seemed to come there with a heavy load that rapidly diminished once they left the altar. It never ceased to amaze me— the power of prayer.

I have watched as people of all ages came forward to shake the Pastor’s hand. Some came forward to join and become a part of this church family. I would see that time after time. Yet some would join one day and never be seen again. That always made me sad. But there were many who would keep returning after that day and make a wonderful contribution to the church. That was always a great thing to watch happen!

But the most exciting ones were the ones who came forward to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The ones who recognized the weight of sin and the consequences thereof. I would watch each moment and see the congregation rejoice with excitement. Each moment was different but there were always tears. Tears of joy from parents who had been praying for a child or a wife who had been praying for her husband. Those were my favorite moments of all. Redemption is always so thrilling.

I would watch many a wedding with all its beauty. I would sometimes later hear the same Pastor in the couples office trying to save the marriage before it crumbled. Many a times, I have also witnessed the same bride decades later as she stood over the casket of her husband and knew that their love had survived.

I have seen come in with a quizzical look on their face as if they were searching for something. If they came back to that place, they eventually found the object of their search. However, many only came once and never returned. Occasionally, I would hear members of the congregation talk about how that person had met a tragic end.

Many who see me want to call me “the church”. If I could talk, I would correct them. I am just a building. I have wood, nails, electrical wiring, the occasional bugs, and sometimes even a rat or two.

It is the people who have come into this place faithfully every week that have made the church. The ones who leave this place still praising the name of Jesus regardless of the circumstances. The ones who talk of ways they have served Him every week.

They are the church! I am just the building that holds them.

But oh, the things I’ve seen. And the way that I have continually had opportunities to watch God work in the past!

And how exciting to know I’ll see so much more in the future.

I am the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Lillian, Texas.