I blogged last week about the final services at my church's original building on Bank St. in not-so-beautiful downtown Ottawa and the satellite campus we have been using since 2003 to accommodate all our adherents. Yesterday, we held the inaugural service at the new Met. No longer will we need to distinguish between the Met@Bank and the Met@Carleton; after 5 years, we're back together again under one roof: just the Met.
Our service began, as it always does, with singing. I noted last week that the last hymn to be sung by the congregation in the original building was a medley of "Power in the Blood" and "Are You Washed in the Blood?" No less fitting was the first hymn sung in the new place: "Holy, Holy, Holy." This suited the morning's sermon, titled "When is a Building not a Building?" taken from Exodus 3, about Moses standing on holy ground. It is not the soil Moses stood on (which was no different than the other soil around it) that made the ground holy, nor is it the bricks and mortar of a church building (which could have been used to build a mall or a condominium): it is that it was set apart for God and for his service. Later on in the Bible, of course, we see God setting aside not holy ground, but holy people. The church is, indeed, "more than a building."
Between services, I visited the spacious new library and then the second floor, where the space under the glass tower is a café - not intended as a substitute for church services or other Sunday morning programs, but a place to meet on the way in or out and have some fellowship with other members or visitors. Our church being very missions-oriented, the proceeds from sales are apparently going to be directed toward local missions efforts. (I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for the proprietors of the Tim Hortons across the street from the old building, as I'm sure they got a lot of business from people ducking out for a large double-double between church and Sunday school!) Even on the first day, the new building seemed very busy. Apparently there were over 2000 people who came out yesterday morning. I'm sure a good number of those were visitors.
It was my turn to operate the PowerPoint system for the evening service, so I got (almost) to be the first to play with the new toys. The projection system consists of two huge projectors suspended from the ceiling. Each one apparently weighs about 80 pounds, so I'm thrilled that the days of lugging the projector in and out of storage are over.
My overall impression was that Day 1 went without a hitch. I'm probably wrong about that, but certainly there was nothing that would dampen the day for the average churchgoer. Apparently there is a list of hundreds of little items needing attention that will be addressed and repaired in the coming months. But I don't think anyone's day was ruined by a malfunctioning water fountain or a cracked window.
To God be the glory - great things he hath done.