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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)

By Tim Manzer


The big old guy had merely asked a question. He was not being judgmental or rebellious. However, I could merely manage an embarrassing reply that did not sound very pastoral. With a hint of defensiveness I stated, “We lock it now, that’s what the insurance company has requested us to do.”

At one time the church sanctuary was always open during the day. Anyone could stop by at anytime and sit in the huge empty room. They could pray, weep, read or just sit there and absorb the quiet. I recall that after the 911 attacks on our land, the church sanctuary filled with individuals who where drawn together to pray and weep. I saw an unknown Fed-X driver come to the church to stop and weep with others. She said she was just driving by and felt the need to stop. Strangers were holding hands, weeping and seeking the face of God on that painful day.

If you lost your dog the church was a quiet place to go and grieve. If you just received news of an unusual spot on your lungs, you had a place to go and weep before God. Everyone was invited; there was no starting time and no closing time. Most likely you would be alone but God could also have a divine rendezvous waiting for you in those church walls.

I understood the reason for the closing of the open sanctuary time. Times have changed. People do steal from churches. There is thousands and thousands of dollars of expensive equipment in the sanctuary. Sound equipment and projectors are extremely costly to replace.

Yet, my words seemed harsh as I explained to the gentle old man that I could pray for him in my office however the sanctuary was not available for private divine entreaty.

I guess that the days of private commune with God are reserved for home, office, school lunch room or walk in the woods. It’s not economically prudent to use the church.

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This article has been read 819 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Sickler03/13/06
What a sad commentary on the times we live in. "There is thousands" should be there are thousands, but the rest was well done. :) I really liked your ending sentence.
Lynda Schultz 03/13/06
What a imaginative way to present your case. Well done and a message that needs to be sent.
Jessica Schmit03/13/06
You brought up some really good points. A really interesting read. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 03/16/06
Very good job with the gentle irony of this situation.

In your 3rd paragraph, the 2nd person references are a bit jarring; consider re-writing those to be more consistent with the rest of the piece.

A very thoughtful musing.
Virginia Gorg03/16/06
Sad that this the changes that are taking place. But we have been told this is what is coming. Nicely written except for the change from "I" to "you" to "I".
Helen Paynter03/16/06
I've just walked out of my church, set the burglar alarm, and locked it firmly. I agree entirely. If only we could leave our doors open. But as temples of the Living God, we take the church wherever we are...
Thanks for a thought provoking piece.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/19/06
How very sad! To think that Mankind has come to this point in time that even a Church cannot stay open!

I'll never forget the Christmas Eve I was all alone in a big city...and walked into a church and listened to an organist playing. It was so peaceful and restful...and was not even of my faith - but it was a refuge, a haven and I wasn't so lonely. Very nicely written, and a sad, but true, message to share with us. Thank you.
Janis Lord04/10/06

Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts that were expressed so well! Look forward to reading more of your works!

Jan Lord