Our Church: Honoring the Host

"I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King's Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work. Then I said to them, 'You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.' And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, 'Let us rise up and build.' So they strengthened their hands for the good work." (Nehemiah 2:12-18)

Every week at City Church we meet at the property of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, our host. GCPC’s beautiful church is located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. It’s very big and very old, and is a freckle on the face of a city with many other houses of worship and monuments honoring the people that have made (and continue to make) our city beautiful today.

City Church has a quiet team of men and women behind the scenes who, each week, come in well before the service starts to make sure...

  • Sound systems are check
  • Coffee is ready
  • The facility is tidy and ready for worship
  • Communion (the Lord’s table) is set up

At the end of the service, the facilities team stays late to break everything down and clean up in order that we can honor our hosts. As a renting church, we have the opportunity each week to honor a few instead of just our own. We can honor our congregants by preparing a space that is orderly, comfortable and clean, so that we may worship without distraction. We can honor our host, GCPC, by leaving their church home even better than how we found it. Most importantly, we can honor our Lord by doing both of these things, and by clearing our hearts to remember the simplicity of what it means to serve.

The facilities team serves in this capacity to honor our true Host: our Lord who endured the weight of our scorn and rejection so that we might spend eternity with him and be free from the chains of death forever. It may seem like a dramatic allegory for a crew of volunteers (albeit hard-working!) but...

Parents take their children to school. Friends celebrate one another in simple birthdays. Citizens pay their taxes, utility bills and parking decals. Military serves in the dark to restore peace where it can’t be found. Children collect and send colored pencils and soccer balls to others little ones who never play.

Noah built a boat and corralled two of each animal. Esther threw a feast. The citizens of Rome paid their taxes. Followers of Christ sent relief to the suffering people in Judea. Nehemiah went back, in the dark, to re-build the wall around his beloved city that had fallen.

And Jesus washed the feet of his pedestrian, beloved people.

Our facilities team honors our congregation by providing us with the everyday things, the oft-forgotten chores that certainly go by unnoticed much of the time but are an important part of worship. They honor the created and our Creator-Host by giving us a place to meet with a servant God. They are the best coffee-makers, table-assemblers, break-downers that they can possibly be because of a compulsion to serve Christ and to love his people the way that Christ, our Host and King, first loved us.

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Many thanks to our quiet, hard-working facilities team who keeps working under the radar to serve the congregation in the way that Christ taught us with renewed hearts entranced by a loving God. Let us rise up and build; let us keep the feast!

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This post is the second in a series aimed at sharing stories across the broad life of our church, highlighting different ways people are serving–sometimes in the hidden pockets or forgotten corners. You can read the first installment here.

(Written by Anne Taylor Robertson)