Rustlings (June 20, 2016)

I’m not from here. I did not grow up in the Greenville area. This means I’ve spent my first two years exploring and enjoying this wonderful city. I’ve walked ‘the bridge,’ found the ‘mice on main,’ and cheered on the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field. I’ve biked (and run) the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I’ve sipped coffee at Spill the Beans, Moe Joe’s, Coffee Underground and a multitude of Starbucks. I’ve eaten at sushi, Persian,Indian, Mexican, farm-to-table, Italian…well, suffice it to say, I’ve eaten at just about every type restaurant possible. I’ve meandered through the zoo, soared with the symphony and shopped at the Farmers Market. I’ve rocked out to Motley Crew, James Taylor and Alice Cooper at The Well (Bon Secour’s Wellness Arena for those of you who’ve been here less than two years) and Jackson Browne, Boz Scaggs and Jason Mraz at the Peace Center. I’ve enjoyed theatrical arts at Greenville Little Theater, Centre Stage, Warehouse Theater, Gunter Theater and yes, Café and Then Some. I’ve enjoyed the visual arts at almost every gallery on the West End, as well as Artisphere and several private showings. In addition to this, I’ve been in over one hundred homes of First Baptist Greenville church members. (Didn’t want you to think I wasn’t working.) I was clicking through these items with a parishioner Sunday morning and he responded in amazement, “Wow! I’m from Greenville and haven’t been to half those places.” Hmmmm…

Last week, students drove from surrounding regions and some flew from Maryland, Pittsburgh and Detroit to attend a class co-sponsored by our church and Columbia Theological seminary on our campus. Between sessions, I saw the students sitting and praying in our Sanctuary and Chapel. One lady upped the mileage on her FitBit on the walking track at the AYMC. Others walked our Labyrinth and sat in our Columbarium Prayer Garden to pray. When the series of classes ended, the resounding refrain was, “You have a beautiful church. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy all these holy spaces.” Hmmmm……

When you’re ‘from here,’ you don’t always take advantage of the gifts you see everyday. I hope you’ll take a moment this summer to enjoy something new in this great city. And, I hope you’ll take a moment – a quiet moment – to enjoy some sacred space in this beautiful church….

— Jim