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Bethany roof a tent for God's community

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The "Raise the Roof" campaign at Bethany gives me pause for reflection. As I write this I am sitting in our sanctuary, waiting for a presentation by Jane Alexander (former director of the National Endowment for the Arts) to begin. This roof is one under which the community gathers; for library programs, bookstore speakers, political forums, community concerts, scouting ceremonies, preschool chapel, music recitals,

school performances, weddings, funerals ... Worship!

Today, as I sit here, this roof protects the quilts we have adorning our pews, quilts and baby kits that will be distributed through Lutheran World Relief to those who don't have the luxury, the necessity, of a protective covering over their heads.

The roof provides those huddled beneath it with a place to pray. Yesterday, when our "Neighbors in Faith" program was held, one of our presenters, a Muslim woman, asked if she might use it for prayer ... I assumed that because she asked me which way was "north." Our sanctuary, God's sanctuary, is a place where periodically throughout the week individuals will come for prayer. We remember those friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus, lowering him through the roof beneath.

In sitting in the church, one might look up and imagine that the roof is held up on the east by the organ pipes, the trumpets of praise and joy. At the other end, on the west, the roof is seemingly upheld by the cross. We are framed, under this roof, by the cross and resurrection. Seems a good place to reside.

This is the roof we are about to "raise." What at its core is essentially mundane and coarse and taken for granted, is the tent for God's people in community. Thank you for "supporting" our roof and the ministry it shelters.

–– Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers

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