Easter in a Parking Lot
The slab where our Venue once stood was scrubbed clean. In their hazmat suits, armed with powerful chemicals, the asbestos abatement crew had scoured the entire foundation. All the debris left by the tornado had long since been removed. Just hours before our outdoor Easter Celebration, wind and rain had cleansed any dust that remained.
Our worship team set up their equipment, positioned so that musicians and singers could be at least 10 feet apart, in compliance with state guidelines. We erected the cross that previously stood in our auditorium, which also stood in our temporary home at the elementary school. Cars began to roll in, parking in every other spot, also socially distanced.
At 11 am, switches were turned on, buttons were pushed, and the live-stream began.
Forever, He is glorified Forever, He is lifted high Forever, He is risen He is alive He is alive!
The song reverberated against the apartments next door and throughout the neighborhood. “He is alive!” That’s what we celebrated. The Resurrection. A fresh start. New hope. New beginnings. New life!
Our awkward season of transition and rebuilding began on October 20, 2019, after a tornado destroyed our church building. This outdoor, parking-lot service, with little to no social contact, was not our Plan A. I’ve talked to friends across our nation and around the world who are all simultaneously experiencing the same thing. We are all making the best of an awkward situation.
We are all reminded that church is so much more than where we meet. We are reminded that what is essential is our relationships. As a church who believes in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that the most essential relationship of all is with the Eternal God who is always with us. He is preparing a home for us with Him when all of this fades away. A home that can never be destroyed.
Jesus said, “destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days” (John 2:19). The bystanders thought he was talking about a building which took 46 years to build, but Jesus was talking about His body, which contained the presence and essence of God. The Bible goes on to say that we are all, as believers, living stones in the temple on earth that contains God’s eternal Glory.
As we met on that bare foundation this past Easter Sunday, God reminded us that we are a “Church Without Walls” and that the REAL church is so much more than a building. The whole world, from the Vatican in Rome to the inner-city outreach in downtown Dallas, is experiencing the same.
We thank God because of the Resurrection. Our church buildings may not be accessible, He ALWAYS is. He invites us into His presence no matter where we are here on the globe.
As construction begins on our building, we are grateful for family and friends. We are grateful to the many who have supported us throughout this entire ordeal—which is long from over. We are grateful most of all to the Father who gives us life and hope, pouring out His grace in the midst of it all. In the meantime, we can meet in parking lots and drive-thrus, via Zoom, social media, and email. We are connected. We are blessed. We are the Lighthouse.
Yours in the Journey,