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Excitement
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This week, I experienced two things, on back to back days, that filled me with a joy and gratitude, which in turn have reminded me of the perfect joy we will one day know…more on that at the end of this post.
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The first was on Monday. We had our final inspection for our new building (yes, we thought we had the final inspection done weeks before, but it seems that this process has been a learning experience for all involved!). I knew it was happening at 2pm. We prayed about it and had others praying too. After these last months and months, I knew nothing could be taken for granted. And then I got a message from someone who was there: we had passed! We could move into the building the following day, and our official occupancy certificate would be given within a day! Seeing the building for the last couple of months, essentially complete but unable to be used…the thought of actually serving from there had begun to almost feel like a mirage. And then it was done. We were free to make it a home!
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The second was on Tuesday. That was the day the province announced some more details about Step 3 of BC’s Restart plan. I had heard rumours that churches were going to be pleasantly surprised by the announcement. That afternoon (in the midst of frenetic furniture building in our new church home), some people told me they had heard on the radio that churches were no longer subject to any restrictions. I thought “no way”. I went home, looked at the official Government of BC website, and saw this: “No capacity limits or restrictions on religious gatherings and worship services.” 
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I can’t even express what that means to me. It has felt in some ways like 15 months of suffocating winter. But the thought of being able to come together, to worship, to laugh, to welcome new people, all in our new home? Wow.
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So what does that mean for us, as a church, in the weeks ahead? Here’s our plan at the moment (Lord willing- James 4:15- let’s not forget that!).
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This Sunday, July 4, we will be doing our first live-stream from our new building. We’ll be working out some of the kinks, getting things ready for you. The worship team is excited to get familiar with the new setting.
From July 5-9, we will host our Summer Day Camp for kids in our new home. We’ve got close to 60 people involved in total, and there’s a lot of work going into making the atmosphere an exciting one for kids, and one where they will have the opportunity to meet Jesus.
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And then, the big day: July 11th. On that day, we welcome you for in-person, indoor Sunday worship, for the first time since March 8, 2020- 16 months. There’s no pre-registration, you can just show up. We will celebrate what God has done at Day Camp, and some of you will get to see the building for the first time. You can sing, you can talk to people, you can worship. We’ll be doing some things a little bit differently than we used to, and we’ll be recommending masks (but not requiring them). It’s still important that if you feel unwell, that you stay home. We’re going to continue live-streaming services even as we reopen. But I don’t want to get bogged down there: the headline here is that we’re reopening for in-person worship, and it’s going to be so, so good.
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Following that, one of the ways we want to “consecrate” the building as a place for people to know Jesus and make him known is to have a 12/6 prayer week (as opposed to 24/7). We’ll invite you to sign up for slots throughout the week to come to our new home and pray over it and through it. That will be from July 12th-17th.
Another big day, Lord willing, will be September 12th. That will be our big fall kick-off, our “grand opening”, our celebration of what God has done in opening this door for us.
It’s easy for me to get swept up in the excitement of all this. I tend to do that. But I’ve learned by now that everything in life is fragile and tentative in the end. I know that we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, and things could conceivably revert back again. I know that there will be many people who don’t feel comfortable coming together for in-person worship, at least not for a while. And I know that the moment I put my hope in this world, I am headed in the wrong direction. I know that this world will never be what it is meant to be until Jesus comes again and makes all things new. And so, in moments like this, moments when a season of pruning and lying fallow (more on that this Sunday!) give way to new life and growth, I’m reminded that this is just a small glimpse and foretaste of the day John foresaw in Revelation 21:
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And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
That’s the day I’m really looking forward to.