It was an amazing experience to travel to England and learn about the Wesleys and the early Methodist movement. I could bore you with a travel log article, but that’s not generally my style. So instead, I will seek to share the impact the trip had on my heart, my ministry, and my grief.
For those that don’t know, my husband unexpectedly passed away Sept. 16, 2017. It was a shock to our family, and it has been the lens in which I now see my world. It was by looking through the grief optic that England was revealed to me. I was confronted by old structures, chapels, and cathedrals at every turn. It wasn’t so much the age of the buildings that drew me in, but the stamp of those who built on the foundation and those expanded century after century. Devotion was visible in the design and the attention to detail. Away from the city, dotting the countryside, were homes and hedgerows from a bygone era. Nameless people who built structures that have withstood decay, weather, and war fill every vantage point. It’s overwhelming to comprehend a civilization dating back to the time of the early apostles.
The picture of the cathedral is St. Michael’s in Coventry, UK — built in the 14th century and destroyed during WWII. The legacy of the cathedral is that the old bombed out structure remains in its place and is bound to the new building. The new cathedral was designed to send a message of reconciliation to Germany by looking forward in hope and wisdom, while still remembering the past. Christ of the past is present in the current worshipping body, and hopefully will continue to be among the people of St. Michael’s and the community there for always.
For those who have lost a loved one, I invite you to look at the life around you and notice the legacy in which your loved ones have left behind. For me and my grief, I have come to a place where the light permeates more often than the darkness. It illuminates the qualities of my husband in my children, and the workmanship in the woodworking projects that sit in every room in my home and office. I have not completed my grieving, but I have come to a place where I am beginning to build upon my sorrow to embrace this new life after death, both my heart’s death and my husband’s. The healing power of the Christ, and the physical remembrances help me thru this process. There are wood crafts that also sit in former churches and in parishioners’ homes. I can’t help but wonder what folks see when they gaze upon his creations.
As a church we have been able to worship amid the love and hard work of the generations who have come before us. They have cared for and expanded upon the ministries and the physical space of Lovely Lane Church. What will we leave for future generations? How will Christ be revealed to a future of believers in this community?
Blessings in Christ, Pastor Jenny