Midweek Musing 2/16/22 - A New Church Sign
One of my duties and responsibilities as an assistant principal at the school where I work is to be sure the facilities are in good working order. It doesn’t mean I have to fix anything, but it means when something breaks, I submit the work order and make sure it is taken care of. Now most the time someone informs me about whatever is broken. It could be a broken drawer on a teacher’s desk or a burned-out light in the gym or a leaky toilet or heating and air that has stopped working (or more accurately is making one teacher too hot and the teacher next door too cold.) And if a heavy rain causes a leak into the building or the sewage backs up, I get a call right away.
However, there are a number of maintenance issues that I end up going to find on my own because no one reports them. Folks simply assume someone else has told me about it and thus no one tells me about it.
My Dad had the same kind of troubles when he served a large congregation as pastor. Folks would assume he knew they were sick or in the hospital or had suffered a loss of some kind. They would call him assuming someone else had already told him. However, because everyone assumed someone else had told him often no one would share what was going on with him. Thus, he had no idea what was going on. That’s until folks would stop coming to church or call him angry or tell others they were angry with the preacher. Suddenly everyone would call my Dad with that news! By the time my dad did find out and reached out it was often too late. Feelings had been hurt. And these church members would have gotten so upset they would even leave the church because they did not get the pastoral care they expected and probably would have received if the preacher had only known.
While I could not solve my Dad’s problems with this at church, I have come up with a way to solve the problem of things being broken at my school that I don’t know about. Several times a week (more if I’m tired of my office walls) I go on a walk around the building and check on everything from potholes to burned out hallway lights to leaky water fountains to exterior doors that do not completely close and lock.
I have a list and a path I follow that I now have memorized.
Now much of what I look for are safety concerns. Fire Exit signs that are not lighting up, loose bolts on playground equipment, broken chairs, egress/ingress concerns, cracked floor tiles, and a variety of other stuff whose list is too long to mention. All I can say is it is amazing what can break (or be broken) at a school building that is now over 30 years old and has over 800 folks using it on a daily basis.
I got to thinking about this part of my school administration job when I read these words from Matthew Chapter 16:24-26:
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? NRSV
Of course, me being me, I read them in several other versions, including one entitled the Easy-to-Read Version. I think I liked it because it was indeed easy to read. It translates these verses in this manner:
Then Jesus said to his followers, “If any of you want to be my follower, you must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me. Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it. But you who give up your life for me will find true life. It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost. You could never pay enough to buy back your life.
After reading this it occurred to me, I might need to get the trustees to petition the session to install a new sign over the front door of the church with a disclaimer posted on the wall beside the door as you enter and maybe even in the bulletin.
I already have all the words.
ENTER AT RISK OF
LOSING YOUR LIFE!*
*This is a warning that if you enter this church with an open heart and mind then you may lose your life. And when you do, your life by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit will be transformed into a new life where serving God through serving others is your greatest calling.
And when this happens your life will no longer be your own but our Lord’s. You will be changed and while life may still be hard, deep down there will be a joy and peace that passes all understanding. And suddenly you will realize that the life you had before was really no life at all."
Friends, I pray that those with ears may hear.