A little more than a year ago, this is what the inside of our new church looked like:
Here’s a glimpse of what it looks like today:
Every single thing that arose out of what was once a workshop and is now a beautiful church came to be thanks to the hard work and generosity of our tiny congregation, and of people in this community and afar who gave to us because they believe we are about the Lord’s work. I hope we don’t let them down. I found myself thinking just now, “This is the church that love built.” Then I thought, “What a sugary-sentimental thing to say! Disgusting.” But then I thought: it’s true, though. Hard to be ironic and snarky when you see what a tiny group of people can do with sacrifice and devotion.
I have just come through a long, difficult, painful time in my life, some of which was chronicled in my book Little Way, but most of which I’ve not written about. But it was not easy at all, and not easy on those who live with me. I am absolutely certain I wouldn’t have gotten through it if not for this church, which is to say, my priest and the community of prayer that gathers inside this little building on the side of Highway 61. I can’t possibly express strongly enough how much this place and those people mean to me, and have meant to me this past year. Today we celebrated the anniversary of our first liturgy. If you had told me a year ago that we would have come so far so fast, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you had told me anytime in the past eight years or so that I would one day be in a place of such peace and spiritual fruitfulness in church, I wouldn’t have believed it either. Glory to God for all things!
(And by the way, Alexander Ignatiev, I finally got to taste that Mississippi beer you left for us when you visited, and it’s terrific. Drinking that wet-hoppy IPA is like being high in a pine forest, tickled by hobbits. Yeah, it was a nice after-church celebratory picnic we had today.)