Friday, August 16 2019
It stormed in Charlottesville on the evening of July 31st. I wondered, will anyone show up, for Up?
I arrived at the church a little after 6:00pm and walked into the sanctuary which was designed to adapt and become a fellowship space whenever necessary. Our people—children, youth, young adults, middle aged, and seniors—stretched into a line and chattered and caught up waiting their turn for pizza.
Members of the Christian Arts Committee served each guest who then found a seat at tables which had been set and decorated by the committee on theme for the night’s feature film.
Over the next half hour or so, tables swelled as more people arrived and more chairs were added so everyone would have a space to sit, eat, and connect.
Popcorn was popped and ready, and then more popcorn was popped and handed around as folks settled into their seats and the movie began.
That night was my first time to see this particular Disney Pixar flick. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of heart, or the way the friendship between recently widowed, grieving Mr. Fredricksen and young Russell, who craved the attention of an engaged adult, would resonate so deeply with the gathered crowd.
Young and old journeyed together as Russell and Mr. Fredricksen soared across the screen and picked up new friends and vanquished foes together: both physical and emotional.
As Mr. Fredricksen let go of his home and treasured possessions—proof of the adventure of life he and his beloved wife, Ellie shared—and set off to have a new adventure alongside his new friends, I thought about the church.
I thought about the space where we all sat laughing, tearing up, and eating together.
I thought about the years of love and memories saturating the chairs and the walls and the love and care taken each week as the sanctuary is prepared for worship and fellowship.
I thought about the people gathered, all part of the Broadus family, and how important this space is, but how what matters more is the way we are formed by our time there.
Church is more than a building. Church is a body of people. It is one of the few spaces where people—all people—can come and know that they are loved and valued. It is a place to build relationships that might not form in other corners of our busy, isolated lives. It is a place to celebrate and mourn with one another.
Mr. Fredricksen’s and Russell’s adventure wasn’t easy. They weathered betrayal and embraced forgiveness. They let go of some treasures in order to care for one another. They chose to sacrifice for Kevin and Doug—their animal companions—above their own needs and wants.
Isn’t that the church, too? At its best?
At Broadus we strive to be more than a building. We pray to be followers of Christ who consider our neighbors’ needs above our own and offer space for people to connect deeply and know that they are loved and belong.
We aren’t always perfect but watching Up together that night I caught a glimpse of the way God takes our imperfect offerings and knits them together into something beautiful.
At Broadus Memorial Baptist Church we believe we are called to love God and love our neighbors. The stories you read on this blog offer a witness to the ways we respond to God's love and seek to share that love with others.
Scripture describes the church as a body, made up of many parts. Just as your tiniest toe isn't aware of the intricate work your heart or brain do, it can sometimes happen that people in the church body only see what is happening immediately around them. Our hope is that reading these stories will help forge connection and inspire greater love and understanding for one another.
At Broadus we are a community defined by warm-hearted fellowship and thoughtful inquiry. We hope you see evidence of that in the stories we share here. We hope you know, or come to know, that you are a part of God's grand story and that you are welcome to join us, on a Sunday, a Wednesday, or any gathering in between.
The life of faith is a journey, and we are not meant to walk it alone. Our stories connect us and we are excited to share some of ours with you.
If you have a story you'd like to share or would like to connect in some other way you can send an email to email@example.com or call (434) 977-7381.
Please visit our new YouTube channel to find all of the latest videos of sermons, Bible studies, and ways to stay connected while we are not gathering in-person.
Broadus Memorial Baptist Church Charlottesville