They sang the closing hymn and gathered in the fellowship hall. One last potluck together. One last time they sang grace gathered around those embroidered table-cloths made by their mothers and grandmothers. One last time they were together under the roof built by their fathers and grandfathers.
After one-hundred twenty-five years of ministry, the doors of their little church were closing. Their prairie town had shrunk to only a few houses. The school was closed. The stores were gone. Their zip code was taken away last year.
When the meal was over they gathered outside in the summer evening air and read some scripture. The bell tolled a final time and the benediction was given.
They lingered a long time on the church lawn and shared memories from when their families were young and their children laughed and played in this place. They remembered the weddings, the funerals, and the pastors that had come and gone.
Tears were shed. Hugs were shared. They could hardly believe they would be worshipping somewhere else next Sunday.
But there was joy, too. Not only in thankfulness for all that had been – but for the promise that hung in the air as the last car drove off. “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.”
“… the word of our God will stand forever.” (v.8)