For years we've attended a small church in a nearby town. The church itself is just lovely.
On Thursday of last week, the girls and I were scheduled to attend a small function at church when our pastor called to cancel because there had been a fire overnight.
A fire! Suddenly the thought of our pretty little church being ruined by fire was almost more than I could bear.
But thank the good Lord above, it wasn't terribly bad. It certainly could have been worse.
What happened was this. All the wood in the inside structure needs to be cleaned and re-coated once in awhile. Our pastor and some men in our church were doing just that during the week -- up on scaffolding, applying linseed oil to the wood.
On Wednesday afternoon when they stopped work for the day, they left a pan of linseed oil and some rags indoors. It spontaneously combusted during the night.
As our pastor put it, it taught us all a harsh lesson on the combustibility of linseed oil!
Undaunted by the fact that the sanctuary was unusable, we held services in the church basement.
Inside the church, we found many of the pews, lecterns, etc. had been moved into the narthax room.
Inside the sanctuary, the scaffolding was still in place. The pews had been moved out, not because of the fire, but because of the ceiling work that was being done.
The fire was on the steps leading up to the alter.
But the eternal flame (in the safer form of an electric bulb) still burned, representing the eternal presence of God. I found this comforting.
So the congregants gathered in the church basement for services.
We even managed to rig an electronic keyboard for music.
Makeshift table with our offerings.
Thankfully the church's insurance should cover the damages, but we'll be gathering in the basement for the next couple of months at best. But that's okay. Our church is still intact, and the faithful will continue to worship here.