Monday, September 12, 2011

A Shelter To Every Generation

A Devotional By Margot Cioccio

I had a little help from Gracie to write this post.

 Psalm 90:1-2 (The Message)   

God, it seems you've been our home forever; long before the mountains were born,  Long before you brought earth itself to birth,  from "once upon a time" to "kingdom come"—you are God. 

 

Amplified Bible  Psalm 90:1 LORD, YOU have been our dwelling place and our refuge in all generations .

 

The inner city church I attend has been around longer than the city of Spokane. The church was founded in 1888, so its been around for a few years. I have gone through many of the old archives and photos. Photos from long ago of a thriveing church with a Sunday School classes in the 1950 of more than a hundrend adults lined up in front of the building.  I love history and trying to understand the footprints left by other generations in the stuff others felt important to save. It reminds me that my generation is not the first generation to have followed Christ. There have been many generations of believers who have gone before us. The style of their worship was very different from our own but they served the same Jesus that we do and they have left a legacy of faith.


Today I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who's grandparents had been one of the three founders of our church. She had been there as a young child, when her grandmother, who was by then, an old woman, dug the first shovel of dirt for our present building.  At the time she was about five.  This dear woman now in her 70's, was delighted to see what God is doing in this generation. Her name was Sandee Kerr and I met her when she arrived and she told me her family were the founders of the church. At the time it was moments before the services was to start and I had things I needed to attend to but I assured her I would let the pastor know she was here. 

 

I made a point to talk to her after the service and it was then that I started to connect the dots of what she had told me earlier.  In the course of the conversation she wanted to see the baptismal font. She explaned that the silver chalace inside of it was inscribed with her name and the date of her baptism. Her grandmother, the wife of one of the founders had given it to the church at the baptism of her first grandchild. Sure enough there was the inscription she had been telling me about. I small piece of history came alive in that moment.  

I rarely bring my video camera with me to church. Today I had been moved to bring it,  thinking I would take some footage of our first week back to feeding our homeless and poor neighbors. It was a God kind of thing, to be able to go and get it and record some of Sandee's memories of the past. She is probably one of the last of a generation to even remember the founders of this church. 

Sandee's ingraved baptismal

She was in town for her class reunion and made a point to come and visit the church of her childhood. She had been here for weddings and funerals and had seen it change through the years. She was delighed that we had not only survived the wrecking ball as she called it. Her way of expressing how very close we had been to closing, but thats another story.

She showed me the gold ring her mother had gotten as a young person for having five years of perfect attendence. Things sure have changed since then.  

This whole encounter today was such a blessing for me. She admired my mosaic necklace and was tickled when I took it off and gave it to her. She said she would treasure it. You can see her wearing it in the photo. Sandee was able to make a bit of the past come alive for me. She reminded me through her stories that God has been active at this church for many generations. God has been working in this church for 120 years and in some ways I am humbled, that God has allowed us to continue to be a light on this corner.  Here's a link to our history if you are interested.

My heart is thankful that God has been a shelter here for many generations. I am thankful for the legacy's left by believers from the past in books, and music and in the older believers in our midst.  If you take the time to share a bit of your Sunday with those from another generation in your church or with those who come through the doors or your church you might be blessed to see to see the fingerprints of God. 

If you are an older believer, take time to share your stories with future generations. If you are younger reach out to those who are older than you and care enough to listen. I hear you thinking but I'm so shy, or I would not know what to say.  I would tell you that by nature I am very shy and prefer just to observe people. The Lord through the years has nudged me more and more to get beyond myself and to focus on the needs of others in my midst. I have often been suprised by the marvelous people God allows me to meet. You could start small just pick someone you don't know and make a point to introduce yourself and to listen and care. Weather it is a homeless person or someone from another generation or racial group or just someone who looks a little lost. I encourage you to reach out and discover some of God's hidden treasures. I discoved one today and was extreemly blessed.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, Thank you for being a shelter to your people for all these many generations. Help us to reach out to the people in our midst with your love. We don't need to be a spiritual giant a little kindness goes a long way. Help us to be your hands and feet and reach out to the stranger in our midst.

 

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