One of the most interesting aspects of my job involves remnants.
It’s amazing what you find when you are cleaning and sorting through a church cabinet or closet. Everything from old bandages from a first aid kit to curriculum from 1987 to pictures of kids in the nursery from 10 years ago to construction paper scraps are discovered. There are keys to things we don’t know about (see above pic) and crayons. Each person who touched those items, each kid who used them in Sunday school… they are part of the larger story of the body of Christ and the kingdom work God is doing in this place.
One of my favorite ways to decorate any space around me, whether it be my office at work or my home living space, is to fill is with things that have memories attached to them. I love looking up from my desk at work and seeing a frame piece of parchment paper with the lyrics to Amazing Grace on it. I love it because it causes me to remember the church I served in Nebraska for many years that gave it to me when I left to attend seminary. The reason why they chose “Amazing Grace” is a particularly sweet and wonderful story (that will bring my dad to tears if you tell it.)
These are the remnants we leave behind.
When I find an old craft from VBS, or a unknown key to a cabinet, guitar chord sheets from songs in 1998, I am reminded of the many that came before me. I am reminded of the faithful souls who serve the people of this church far before I ever arrived. And thus, I think of those who will come after me when I am long gone.
These remnants, as well as the items we place around ourselves that mean something sweet to us, are identifiers in a way. They represent a small part of who we are, who we want to be, and who we were. They represent a season in the life of a church and who it used to be. The phrase “standing on the shoulders of giants” could not be more appropriate here. I am here because Jesus loves me and has given me the grace to be able to serve in this place in this time. If you were to go back to Nebraska or St. Louis, I’m sure there are a few remnants of my time there as well. I guess I don’t see that as a “legacy” or “making my mark” but more as leaving a piece of myself behind, and this is far more for myself than for the sake of others. These remnants tell a story, an important one, about the body of Christ.
May I never loose the importance of these stories.