This week as we wrap up “The Heart of the City” worship series, we build upon the ideas we explored last week around the role each of us has to play in our church. This week we’ll expand on that by looking together at the role the church itself has to play in the community in which we live.
When Paul talks about the church in our scripture reading, he is obviously not talking about a literal building. Buildings are simply our tools for ministry. And in our church, we all know how each generation has continued to build upon what it had — and what its vision was for our future. What we have today is the result of each generation building upon — literally and metaphorically — what was built by the generations that went before.
And now it’s our turn.
Very soon we will vote on the parking garage phase of our building program — and with this milestone beginning comes the opportunity to start discussing our new master plan and building program.
One of my very favorite statements about this kind of undertaking is repeated by many, and while it is credited to “Anonymous” I think who actually said it is really beside the point. This is a great truth that resonates deeply with me — and with so many others seeking to answer the questions we are considering right now as a church:
To be young is to study in schools you did not build;
To be mature is to build schools in which you will probably never study.
To be young is to swim in pools you did not dig;
To be mature is to build pools in which you will probably never swim.
To be young is to enjoy the branches and shade of trees you did not plant;
To be mature is to plant trees whose branches and shade you will probably never get to enjoy.
To be young is to dance to music you did not write;
To be mature is to write music to which you will probably never dance.
To be young is to enjoy the programs and benefits of a church you did not build;
To be mature is to build churches whose programs and benefits you will probably never get to enjoy.
When I think about this I can’t help but be reminded of that cathedral in Barcelona that has been under construction since the 1870s. Countless people have spent their entire careers — as have some of their fathers and grandfathers — so they may well be into the third or fourth generation of people who worked on this cathedral. This isn’t unusual in that part of the world; some of the great cathedrals of Europe took hundreds of years to build.
The point of all this for us, I think, is to realize that in this church — our own First Church history — we, too, have the legacy of building through generations. And now our generation has come to that time of maturity when we don’t have just a role to play in the burgeoning growth of this community; together we carry the responsibility of continuing in our time a multigenerational legacy of building upon this church.
Looking back into some of the historic milestones of our church, we see how each generation of First Church leaders has played its part:
- The foundation for our church laid in 1855 at 4th and Jones
- Three generations later we moved to 7th and Taylor
- In 1929 we broke ground on this building
- Continued purchase of all the land around the church has allowed us to grow, making us among the largest property owners in Downtown Fort Worth
So now what are we going to do? How will we build upon what was provided to us? How will future generations of this church build upon what we do right now? What could it look like for us to fulfill our generation’s role to play in this historic growth of the Fort Worth community?
I look forward to exploring these thoughts, ideas, and questions with you on Sunday. I’ve also invited Andy Taft, President of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., to speak during worship about the coming growth to our city. And then, at 2:00 pm in the Sanctuary, Building Committee Chair Barry Hudson will offer a preliminary peek at our new master plan. This is going to be a very exciting Sunday in the life of our church, and I look forward to seeing you there!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
I laid a foundation like a wise master builder according to God’s grace that was given to me, but someone else is building on top of it. Each person needs to pay attention to the way they build on it. No one can lay any other foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives in you? If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person, because God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.
Don’t fool yourself. If some of you think they are worldly-wise, then they should become foolish so that they can become wise. This world’s wisdom is foolishness to God. As it’s written, He catches the wise in their cleverness. And also, The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are silly. So then, no one should brag about human beings. Everything belongs to you — Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life, death, things in the present, things in the future — everything belongs to you, but you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.