Today, we were privileged to attend the 90th anniversary of the construction of Pleasant Hill Bible Church in Summerville, PA. This church was built by Rob's great grandparents among other family members. I remember Rob's grandparents (Maw and Paw) talking so sweetly about their beloved church. When Rob and I decided to get married, I said that I wanted a really small wedding (if someone put me into a big ol' gown, I'd go kicking and screaming down the aisle - LOL). Rob mentioned this church and took me for a ride past it. The moment I saw it, I knew that this was where I wanted to get married. We went to Maw and Paw and asked them if they would see if it would be ok with the rest of the deacons of the church for us to get married there. They were so excited that we considered their little church for our wedding. I was excited to intertwine the beginning of our life together with something that was so near and dear to them.
The area is about as rural as you can get, where the roads are still dirt and the air smells of local farms. The steeple juts out from the treetops. It is the only church for miles. Envision a one room schoolhouse and then put a steeple on the front. As you walk in, there are eight pews on each side, rich red carpet stretched over the altar area. The wood so finely finished. A piano sits to the left of the pulpit and a place for a very small choir to sit behind the pulpit. No air conditioning, just the flap of old fashioned hand fans murmur throughout the place. The hymn board shows the numbers of the tunes that will be sung that morning from the hymnals that are secure in a cubby in the pew in front of you. Voices ring out with the old fashioned tunes. Instantly, you feel as though you have been transported back in time to the early 1930's.
Everything about today's celebration was intensely nostalgic. This place holds so many memories for so many people. As Rob and I looked around at the smiling faces, we could not help but feel a tinge of sadness at the reality that in 10 years, not only will we have aged, but the chances are likely that most of those faces will be but pictures on the memory wall. I thought about what the pastor said in his sermon this morning on Hebrews 11. "It is by FAITH, that our dear loved ones built this church, it is by FAITH, that the vision they saw for ministering to this small community would come to reality, it is by FAITH that those who are now angels are looking down on this day smiling and rejoicing at the accomplishments of the last 90 years."
God tells us that "FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen".
I look at the picture of our sweet little family that was weaved together by our great God as we stood in FAITH that HE would be the author of our lives, and I am overjoyed that He is in control of every aspect of them. I can't help but have faith that Maw and Paw are smiling and rejoicing in heaven today as we, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren celebrated the legacy they left us.
What a wonderful day this is.
THIS is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)