One of the stories of First Baptist Church, Lafayette, LA, that will forever be told is the fire of June, 1999. As the story goes, about the only thing that the fire did not consume was the pulpit and the steeple. That same steeple sits atop the rebuilt sanctuary. I love to drive up Lee Avenue or fly above and see the steeple dotting the skyline of downtown Lafayette.
When I was in college, the pastor of the church I attended told a story that made a great impression on me as I was pursuing the call of being a pastor. The story was of a young woman who had come to the end of herself. She climbed up on top of a bridge thinking that her jump would put an end to her misery. High on top of the bridge, she looked around for one last glimpse. In that glance, she noticed the steeple of a nearby church. She thought, “I wonder if there is anything under that steeple that will truly make a difference in my life?” She decided to climb down and at least give that thought a chance.
We all know that the steeple is not where the power is. We know that a church is a building. We all are hopefully acutely aware that the people are the church. I pray that that we are a church that points people to Jesus just as the steeple symbolically sits high above our building.
The steeple of our church, considered by many to be a landmark in downtown Lafayette, was constructed in 1948. After surviving the fire, it sits today exactly in the same geographical position it occupied atop the previous building.
Workers have begun to construct scaffolding to allow for painting the steeple, which will occur over the next few weeks. Pray for these workers and the success of this project.
As you pray and think about the maintenance of the steeple, think about the stories of the lives being changed underneath that steeple. We also need to think and pray about the ongoing maintenance needed in our spiritual lives.
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