Much of our conversation over the past year has surrounded our church building. Everything from the restoration and renovations in the rectory, to the outside painting and the church name signage, which will hopefully be completed soon. We are so blessed by our building, its beauty and space. The way the light comes through the windows in shards through the incense, the beauty of the altar and the dramatic splash of colour that the fabric behind it provides.
Sitting at Mass today (Wednesday) I smiled at the flowers on the windowsills and the small pumpkins and gourds, placed with them, signaling the end of the harvest and the beginning of autumn. Pumpkins placed with such care. Our building looks beautiful because of all the work that goes into keeping it a beautiful space to worship. The building itself is not the story. We have a history, certainly, but it’s the people that are the real story here. The gathered people of God.
What’s the story? Who comes to Mass? Who comes to morning and evening prayer? Who presses the altar linens and places pumpkins and flowers? What are the names of the volunteers and children who sing around the piano for choir practice as part of the St. James’ Music Academy during the week? What are their stories?
All that we have, we have because of the gifts the people here give, and have given. Gifts of time and money. Gifts of talent for praise and worship. Gifts of organization. We are coming to the time again where we are called to consider our gift giving for the coming year. We all have something to give. No amount is too small, or too big.
When people see our church from outside they see an interesting building, that some would call beautiful. The church is not the building. We are, and we’re a story people. What story are we telling? What story do we want to tell? What do we need to give in order to tell God’s story to the world outside these walls?