This Sunday is September 11th and not one of us can hear that date without thinking about the terrible events of fifteen years ago. I'm sure you remember what you were doing that day - I do, and I can picture where I was when I first heard the news. We all knew the ripple effect would change the world for ever.
Elizabeth tells me All Saints was a centre for our horrified community on that day. All kinds of unchurched men and women dropped in to sit quietly, to talk, or just to drift about aimlessly in the company of their fellows. All were welcome, and it was remarkable just how many came to our building seeking solace. Why? We know how many to expect at our Sunday services, we know how many names are on our Parish Role - so what brought so many more of our neighbours here on that day? It can only be in search of hope can't it? For reassurance that the world is not all bad, that there always was, is, and always will be, love and compassion both locally and globally that can reach out and help to heal.
It's a petty comparison but have you ever revisited your childhood home or the home of someone you loved when they have moved on? A family I know moved from the home they had raised their family about five years ago. I had always adored their home - a sweet little rancher with a scent of the sea, lovely bay windows, high ceilings and beautiful decor. I always admired the view from the kitchen, the feeling of being hugged by the atmosphere, I would have dearly loved to have bought it. But I just happen to know the people who did move in (to my intense envy). They bought it as an investment and it's now on the market again. I dropped by recently - delighted I could still go there even after my old friends had left. The house is utterly ordinary - the decor was the almost same, the yard hadn't changed, but there was a hollowness present. It was never the house I loved so much but the ambience of the people who made it their home. It was remarkable how different it felt - somehow it seemed darker and colder - even the view was now nothing special.
I was recently away for a couple of weeks and I really couldn't wait to get back to work. I was literally counting the sleeps! Who does that? That's not normal! But when I walked through the door again I understood. All Saints is special. Perhaps 135 years of prayer and delight in the Lord have soaked into the fabric of the building - whatever it is - my heart leaps and my shoulders shed their weight as I cross the threshold. Thank God for the generosity and forethought of our predecessors for the legacy of our Church building. With the work starting next week on our roof and the planned updates to the rest of the building it's an honour to be able to provide such a sanctuary for the future residents of Ladner.