For a while now those of you who have been attending worship have realized that I really like this text from the book of Numbers, the tenth chapter, in the Hebrew scriptures, that speaks to the wilderness wandering led by Moses after the people have been to Sinai and covenanted with God.
11 In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle of the testimony, 12 and the people of Israel set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai. . .
I love the texture of those verses, their concreteness, their particularity, striking into time itself the moment when they got up and began to journey. So it is, that in November of 2016, Riverside Baptist Church is also on a journey. We can call it our interim journey since we have an endpoint or goal to our “wandering.” The old church building is about to be deconstructed, its stained glass saved for the new building and then in December it may come down. The expectation is that we will enter our new church building by September 30, 2018. We might want to enter on Reformation Sunday of 2018–that would be fitting and an inspiration all by itself!
We are carrying with us during this time a stone from the First Baptist Church in America gathered by Roger Williams in 1638 and we’ll place this stone near the date stone of our new building; we are carrying with us a stone from the Sea of Galilee where Christ ministered and first called disciples and we will place that at the threshold of the new sanctuary once we reach our destination. And we carry with us the vision of this collective of radical Baptists who believe in soul freedom, the separation of Church and State, and the priesthood of believers, believing our voice raised for justice and peace is as vital now as ever.
Meanwhile, we worship in the auditorium of Jefferson Middle School Academy on Seventh Street at 10 a.m. Sundays. We are vibrant. We are full of hope. And we invite you to worship and travel with us. ~See you Sunday