I promised myself that this blog would be strictly about preaching. There are way too many blogs out there about ministry in general for me to say much new. I wanted to focus strictly on preaching. But a sort-of diversion today.
Our church was vandalized last night along with three others. I have approximated between $10-20K in damage. The $20K may be a bit high, but surely it will top $10,000. Someone (probably “one”) smashed out 11 plate glass windows & doors along the front of the church and 6 stained glass windows in the Fellowship Hall. The stained glass windows had been hand made by members of the church when the building was built forty years ago.
The media are saying it all happened within 45 minutes, but I don’t think that is correct. One of our church families who lives next to Calvin Presbyterian say that the Tigard Police was there investigating vandalism there before midnight. Tigard Christian (where I preach) wasn’t hit until sometime between 2-2:30. TCC was, however, the hardest hit. (If you know the Tigard area, Calvin Pres, SW Church of Christ and the Tigard LDS church in Summerfield were the others). I was interviewed by two TV stations (all four of the main ones in Portland were at our church) and KEX radio station. The whole thing was an interesting experience (beginning with getting called out at 2:45 a.m. by the police). I could/should write it down just to document my day. But that is for another place.
What prompted me to blog was Loretta’s comment that it was too bad I wasn’t preaching this Sunday and that she felt I should alert the substitute preacher (coming in from out of town) to the fact. She felt he needs to address it in his sermon some way. He will physically see it because most of the entire front part of our church is boarded up!! But there is a sense of loss in me because I really want to be here with “my” people when we gather for the first time since this loss. There has been grief and anger expressed by people coming by the church. Some say seeing it makes their feelings of anger and grief worse.Several have expressed a sense of being violated.
There is something that can be therapeutic about preaching during times of stress and grief in a congregation. I saw that directly when we had a tragic fatal van wreck that involved one of our church college girls in my last church. To gather the body together and open the Word of God and address what God’s Word says to us in times like this is both helpful, but extremely bonding. I don’t see how I can be here with the commitments I have made, but I wish I could because there are huge benefits in the shepherd speaking to the sheep after a traumatic experience like this. Pray for us. (For a media report, see (http://www.katu.com/news/8190812.html))