Handprints of the Saints

I went back to FUMC Boyd today for the funeral of a dear friend named Mary. Whenever I am in that sanctuary, I am flooded with memories. Everywhere I look, I see the handprints of so many of the Saints who have gone before. Mary and my mother both loved the church and loved to sew. Today there were paraments on the altar and a banner on the wall that Mary and my mother made by hand.

We built that sanctuary, along with new classrooms, nursery, choir room, and offices. I served on the building committee for 7 years, alongside my mother and several other close friends.

One of those friends was Margie. The pews reminded me of Margie because she insisted that we must have the very best that we could afford for the sanctuary. The upholstery is a beautiful “tapestry like” print with rich colors that several of us chose together.

The stained glass windows on the altar reminded me of Evelyn. She found the first of the two windows (which came from a church in Europe) in an antique shop and then learned that there were more windows from the same church. Evelyn spoke to several people before locating another of the windows in Abilene, Texas. I traveled with her to Abilene where we found the second window in an old house filled to the brim with antique furniture. We paid for the window and then put this beautiful (and very old) window in the back of Evelyn’s pickup and wrapped it in blankets to take it to Weatherford, where we had found a glass worker who could protect and seal the windows. The only way I can explain how we made it to Weatherford without breaking the window is to say that it was Divine intervention!

The road to actually building that new sanctuary was a very bumpy one. So many times along the way, our plans did not work out. It was not until we were at a complete loss as to how to proceed, and were incredibly frustrated, that we met (with no agenda) to talk. We prayed, then we talked, and then we prayed again. We acknowledged that we could not do it alone and that any plans would have to come to us from the hand of God.

Not long after that prayer, everything began to fall into place. A contractor just happened to be at our Lord’s Acre festival standing in line behind a couple of us who were talking about the difficulties with the planning of the new sanctuary. He seemed very hesitant to speak, but interrupted us and asked us to tell him about the situation. After speaking with him for a few minutes, he said, “I am a building contractor and I believe that God is telling me to help you. I would like to donate my time and build your new sanctuary for the cost of the materials.” Right then we knew that God was indeed with us and was leading us to carry out the vision of growing the church in Boyd!

Why is it that we always have to struggle before we realize that we have no ministry or mission without the blessing of God?  Why do we have to learn the same lessons repeatedly? Sitting in that sanctuary in Boyd today, I remembered the faithful work of men and women who dedicated their lives to serving others. I feel privileged to have worked beside them and to have learned from them what it means to live a life of faith and service. It is my prayer today that I would live my life following in the footsteps of these faithful servants. I hope and pray that I might leave a legacy of faith in Jesus Christ to all with whom I come in contact.

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