By Gloria Dei Member Martha Wegner
Recently I talked to my friend, Louise, about my latest travels. I had just returned home from a fantastic trip to Portugal. I told her about all the magnificent sights, food and attractions. Then I said, “But, as always, I was happy to come home.” Yes, it has taken me a while to acknowledge it, but as much as I love vacations and road trips and fantastic travels, I love coming home.
My home is my refuge. A refuge built on a firm foundation of concrete and bricks and wood and insulation. Even more, it is built on a foundation of love and laughter and family.
Although I was raised in a home with a similarly secure foundation, I really never felt the foundation of a good church. My parents always seemed to be seeking, trying to find the right church home. As a result, I don’t know what faith I was baptized into; I do remember going to a Lutheran church as a child, then going to a Congregational church as a teenager. I was confirmed in a Methodist church, a church my family didn’t even attend. My parents were faithful churchgoers, and they expected the same of their children. It’s just that it took them many years to find a church that provided a solid foundation for their faith.
My husband John’s church upbringing was equally unpredictable. He was a “Navy brat” whose family moved nearly every year. His church was whatever Protestant service happened to be going on at the Navy base at the time.
And so, these two church wanderers met, married, and then joined and left lots of different churches. Nothing felt quite like home to us. Then we came to Gloria Dei because we were looking for a place to have our daughter confirmed. When we started worshiping at this church, we knew, at last, we were home. Is it the pastors (yes!), the music, the Wednesday suppers (otherwise known as the one day a week mom does not have to cook), the work for justice, the confirmation, the podcasts (you gotta listen!), the artwork, the doggie playdates? Yes, but it’s a lot more.
It’s the solid way Gloria Dei approaches this whole Christianity thing. As our daughter remarked one day after worship, “Now that’s what I call worship!” Sure, Gloria Dei sometimes tries out the jazz bands and the waving banners and even asks us to tolerate the pastors flinging water across our heads, but, in the end, we always come back to the foundation: the Gospel, the sacraments and prayer. We take our worship seriously, and because we believe in the love of Christ, we are serious about taking our mission out into the community and the world. (And just as importantly, let’s just say that Gloria Dei’s pastors never take themselves too seriously.)
Next time you are at church, take a good look at the stained-glass windows. (Better yet, join me on my annual guided tour of the stained-glass windows in May.) If you look at the second window from the front, on the pulpit side, you’ll see one small pane illustrating Jesus’ parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders. Jesus tells us that when the rains fell and the winds blew, the house that was built on rock did not fall. But the house that was built on sand, well, of course it fell. That house did not have a solid foundation, built on our faith in Jesus’ words. (See Matthew 7: 24-27.)
Gloria Dei has built its house on rock. We hear the Word, we treasure the Word, and we act on the Word.
We sing “The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord,” and we mean it.
I’m home at last.