American Poet T.S. Eliot said, “The progress of an artist is continual self-sacrificing, a continual extinction of personality. Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” I love the depiction above of this artist’s development over a 12-year span. You can see the result of what probably was thousands of hours of painstaking and precise effort and learning; mostly done behind the scenes. I would imagine that only close friends and family members might have observed the stages of this actual PROGRESS – which is defined as the forward or onward movement toward a destination; advance or development toward a better, more complete, or more modern condition. Too often we are so consumed with destinations that we fail to celebrate progress. That is unfortunate for us because there is joy in the journey that we might be missing.
In Ezra 5, is an account of a rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the house of God. The Governor, a man named Tattenai, sends a letter to king Darius reporting on the improvements that are being made in verse 8. “The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.” He goes on to describe the historical background of the project, God’s oversight of the goings-on, and how the LORD has used many rulers and servants to accomplish His work. He states, “From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.” (16b)
This reminds me of the renovation project we are currently in the midst of in Over the Rhine at the former Nast Trinty Church on 1310 Race Street. For several months we have been working diligently to prepare the sanctuary of this church, which was built in the 1880s to inhabit the presence of the LORD and our church under the new name, The Warehouse. The transformation that is taking place at the location parallels what we believe God will do in lives. Our Maker will take raw materials and form and equip us for deployment and greater use. It has been a sometimes arduous process that has happened largely behind the scenes. It is not yet finished. Our re-launch is on April 12th, but we’d like to invite you this Friday night at 7:00 pm to celebrate the progress God has allowed us to make, and to intercede for the neighborhood and the work to which the LORD has called us for this season in this territory. Please join us this Friday at 7:00 pm