The Same Old Sight-lines in a New Building
Sometimes a change of facility can mean a change in the logistics of ministry. This is what we anticipate with our move from the Alexandra Centre to St John Lutheran Church. Now visitors can find seats. Classes meeting in hallways can sit comfortably in classrooms. Leaving the building after church will feel less like being a part of a herd of cattle in a crowding alley.
But one thing that should never change are the sight-lines. Not the visibility of the pulpit from the vantage point of each seat. Those sight-lines are immaterial.
It is the same old sight-lines that see Jesus Christ exalted in the gospel every Sunday. Those same old sight-lines should be exactly the same in a new building. Jesus Christ must remain central. The preaching of the gospel must remain as the chief priority.
In 1861 when Charles Spurgeon preached his first sermon in the newly built Metropolitan Tabernacle, he emphasized these same old sight-lines. The sight-lines would not be permitted to change, even in a new, shiny building:
I would propose (and O may the Lord grant us grace to carry out that proposition, from which no Christian can dissent), I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist, although I claim to be rather a Calvinist according to Calvin, than after the modern debased fashion. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist... but if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply -"It is Jesus Christ" [Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. VII, 169].
Let us not forget to continue, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:2)
Those same old sight-lines. They make a new building feel like home.
More in Pastoral Blog
September 13, 2019Luther's Rose and Other Symbols in Stained Glass
August 12, 2019Sexuality, Gender and Christian Witness August 24 with Denny Burk
May 3, 2019Happy and Holy Christians