Broadway Baptist Church - April 17, 2016
I've been on the Grounds Committee several times over the years and I love to walk the grounds marveling at the beauty of this place. But, it has also allowed me the opportunity to see other things as well.
Working in the courtyard, sweeping cobwebs from the windows, I see the deterioration and think, "we've got to do something about this someday." Or the rotting wood caused by leaking gutters and roof, and I think, "we've got to something about this someday." Or the peeling paint along the stairwell caused by worn plumbing in need of repair. I've seen the buckets lining the atrium to catch dripping water from the roof, the wet carpet in the FLC, the flooded youth basement - all following a hard rain. And I think, "we've got to something about that someday." Working in the quiet courtyard is a surreal time for me, until the peace is interrupted by the jarring sound of the air conditioning system kicking on, and then I think, "that doesn't sound good- we've got to do something about that someday." My friends I think the time is NOW!
I've been here since 1983 when Friendship Hall was just finished. That was 33 years ago and it has served well over a 1000 Wed. night suppers, countless luncheons, years of VBS, Disciple Now, pot lucks, numerous programs, a polling place and well over 4000 Sunday school class meetings. And that's the abbreviated list.
We did a capital campaign for the FLC, music/education suite about 25 years ago. Since then it has seen hundreds of Upward Bound basketball games, birthday parties, showers, VBS, meals, super bowl parties and Sunday school classesand over 2,000 choir practices (not including special practice times for special music.)
And this place, this amazing Sanctuary, has served close to 3000 Sunday services. It is here that we celebrate marriage, baby dedication, and baptisms. It is here that we have grieved at the funerals of our beloved members who have gone before us. It is here that we are led in worship by our wonderful children and our amazing youth, giving us a glimpse of the future. It is here we voted to move from the SBC to the CBF. It is here that we voted to call a young Chris Caldwell to pastor us, and it is here that our souls have been touched, our spirit lifted and tears brought to our eyes by the music that comes from this place. LIFE HAPPENS HERE.
I married a wonderful man 28 years ago in this courtyard. We have lived in a 38 year old house for all of those 28 years. In that time, we have replaced the roof, all the windows, the air conditioning and heating system, gutted bathrooms and kitchens and replaced flooring and plumbing. Most of you have done the same. All in order to keep where we live, where Life happens, a sound home for years to come.
33 years ago a young mother and her daughter walked through those doors. This young child learned Bible stories about faith and what it meant to be a child of God. That little girl is grown and gone, like many of your children who have moved away and are now raising their own families. But your legacy is that she lives out that faith she learned here with her own family and in her own community. And that young mother, well, she became older. It was from this pulpit that she heard messages of hope and redemption, it was from this pulpit that she heard messages that made her think, it is from this pulpit that heard messages she could take with her in the coming week. She found a group of believers who showed her how faithfulness will guide you through life's deepest valleys. She found a group of people who will walk with you through life's challenges and celebrations. She found a group of people who showed her love, acceptance, compassion, and Joy. Life, as in our own homes, happens here with each other.
Many of you remember Joe Stopher and for those of you who don't let me just say that he was perhaps one of the finest, kindest and wisest men I have ever known. I remember before his death that I had the opportunity to hear him speak about what Broadway meant to him. His closing remarks were with this story.....One night coming home in miserable weather with limited visibility, he looked down Brownsboro Road and could see the light shining on our steeple. And he thought, "Home." I'm almost home.
And to this day, when Wayne and I have been gone for several weeks traveling and drive in that driveway out front, I remember Joe's words, a peace settles over me, and I think "home."
So my friends, what is our legacy to be? Perhaps it that 50 years from now, those children who scamper to the door each Sunday will return to sit in these pews with their own children and grandchildren, joined by countless new faces that have found their way to Broadway. My prayer is that they, too, will look around and know that life continues to happen here. They, too, will think "HOME."
Our legacy must be that in the year 2016 we stepped to the starting line FOR THE LONG RUN.