Summary: I used our sermon building and the architectural designs in it to speak of the sanctuary as a mother who was speaking to us on Mother's Day.
She Speaks Every Day—Do You Understand Her?
May 14, 2017
Did your mom ever try to tell you something about life that kept you from making some bad choices? Did your mom ever tell you that life is not easy and that life is not fair. Did your mom ever tell you, somebody is paying the bills for you to live?
Did your mom ever tell you things that helped to prepare you for the future? Did you mom ever tell you something that you ignored because you thought you knew better? Did your mom ever ask you, “Do you understand what I’m saying too you?
When we talk about certain items in our society we often refer to them as a she. Church buildings are almost always given the feminine pronoun of she.
There are two New Life At Calvary’s here in Cleveland. One of them moves all over the city and the other one barely moves at all. The one that is in constant motion, is you as the body of Christ. Where ever you go, you take the church with you. The other New Life At Calvary is this great building that we have inherited from our brothers and sisters who lived during the eighteen hundreds.
This sanctuary is like a mother to us. We come to it to be nurtured, we come to it to be comforted, we come to it be encouraged, we come to it in times of joy and we come to it in times of grief. The sanctuary belongs to all of us. Like a mother with many kids, this sanctuary has enough to offer all of us.
Here’s a picture of a woman that was born around 1896. (SLIDE Great Grandmother) It’s the only known picture left of her in this world. To many people it’s just another unnamed black woman. Even if many of the younger generation in my family saw it, they would say “oh, okay” and move on. But this woman has had a course in changing the direction of some of your lives, because she is my great grandmother, Nancy Fowler.
If she had of not given birth to my grandmother, then all the influence I have had on some of your lives would vanish. When I look at this picture, I see a flood or memories and a lot of emotions and a strong sense of letting me know where I came from. My grandmother is still speaking to me through this picture even though she died in 1967, some fifty years ago. My cousins in the generations that have followed, who did not know her, are unable to hear her because they don’t know her history.
We may look around the sanctuary and say, “oh that’s a beautiful place” and move on with the next item. But I want us to know, this place has biblical history and if we listen to her, she speaks of that history.
Spiritually speaking, if a generation is 20 years, we are about six generations from those who built this sanctuary. Meaning we are their great, great, great, great, great, spiritual grandchildren. Much of the messages they were trying to pass on to us has been forgotten even though it is plain sight in front of us.
Our sanctuary is filled with messages from the scriptures to educate us, to warn us, to encourage us, to challenge us and to cause us to remember the greatness of our God as any good woman would do.
Some of you may have thought our New Testament Reading somewhat strange today. You may recall there were four living beasts whose job it was to worship God 24/7 reminding all creation that God is holy, that God has always been and always will be, and that God is worthy to be praised. These creatures cry out that you were created by God and without God you would be nothing. The four living creatures had the faces of an lion, ox, a man and an eagle. (Slide 2—4 Animals)
The gospel of Matthew is referred to as a lion to demonstrate the royalty of Jesus as the King. There is nothing in our lives that Jesus cannot handle. As King, Jesus sets the rules by which we are to live our lives.
The gospel of Mark is referred to as the ox because Jesus is portrayed as a servant who bears our burdens and carries our pains.
The Gospel of Luke is referred to with the face of a person because Jesus presents himself as the Son of Man. Jesus accepts those who have been rejected by society. We find him reaching out to the prostitutes, the lepers, and the left outs with the message his arms are open to them as well.