There is something amazing going on at our church this summer. Our small congregation of under 100 members has been building a church friendship hall. Nearly everything is being done by volunteers. This may not seem like such a big deal, except that most of our volunteers are all old!
Who knew how quickly a bunch of old guys, led by a young buck (in his 50's!), could build a church friendship hall? I've never seen anything like it before. They work from sunrise to sunset....which with their poor eyesight seems to be the sun that rises at 8 a.m. until the sun that sets at 2 p.m. They have arthritis, heart disease, cancer, joint replacements, diabetes, and who knows what other ailments. They are hard of hearing because they didn't hear those who said this couldn't be done. Yet the most significant problem with these guys is advanced dementia! They have forgotten they are too old to be doing this amazing project! Yet every week, those who come to worship on Sunday, marvel at the work that has been done. The solid footings and firm foundation give way to all walls being up; windows and doors all in, stained and varnished. The trusses are in place; particle board bridges the trusses; shingles cover the roof. We all remember the day that there were two guys aged 83 and 89 on the lift, nailing down shingles. I think it was the ones who were only 68 and 73 that were using scaffolding. If you come to watch them work, you too will get dementia and forget they are way too old to be doing this. If you walk into the quiet friendship hall when the crew is on a lunch break, you will feel that you are in sacred space. There is a spirit of holiness that gives one goose bumps as you stand on the smooth concrete floor and look around at the work done by a bunch of guys who are too old.
But wait! Maybe I am the one with dementia! When did Abraham and Sarah have Isaac? Or Hannah and Elkenah have Samuel? Or Elizabeth and Zechariah have John the Baptizer. All were in a time of their life when they were too old to have children. Yet that is exactly what they did. They conceived and gave birth when they were well past the age.
Isn't this just like God to do things this way? The impossible way; so that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to human beings. Yes, it is our God created bodies and God given abilities that is making this all possible. But the commitment and willingness to tackle this work is a decision that could only be made by each old guy involved. Once the women (young and old) saw what the old guys could do, they have pitched right in there with them. The mission and ministry of one, encourages the mission and ministry of another. Thanks be to God for those who are enjoying the privilege of making a home for God's people to be shared with the community. It really is true. "All Are Welcome Here!"