Saturday, June 27, 2009

The porch

Today’s Reading: Acts 3:11 (NIV)

11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.

Good morning!

The porch has long been the gathering place for family and friends. My grandparents enjoyed sitting outside underneath their covered porch almost every afternoon in Brookhaven, Mississippi. During the summer, the interior of their farm house was extraordinarily hot, with no central air conditioning or ceiling fans to promote air circulation. The porch was a much cooler place to sit, as it was shaded by the large pine trees and kudzu in the front yard. Occasionally, a breeze would blow through, providing much needed refreshment during the humidity and heat. On the porch, we sipped exotic concoctions of homemade lemonade and iced tea in plastic cups, while playing board games, Jacks and Dominoes. I loved listening to the incessant chatter of my extended family as we gathered together on the porch.

My favorite time of day to swing in the glider on the porch was when it was storming. The Mississippi rains would beat hard on the dry, cracked ground, where the grass had burned to a crisp in the heat of a July drought. Sometimes, the rain would fall so forcefully that I wondered if we might suddenly find ourselves caught up in a flash flood as the creek bed began to rise. Sitting on the porch in the pouring rain, we would remain completely dry, enjoying the wafting fragrance of a cool rain while watching steam rise up from the ground. My grandmother would throw an old quilt over me when she saw the goose bumps rise up on my arms and legs, chilled by the sudden drop of temperature. Sneaking a cat nap in the rain on Grandmother’s porch is one of my most cherished childhood memories.

Solomon’s colonnade was the favored gathering place for the teachers and their students. Located on the east side of the outer court of Herod’s temple, it became a hall of judgment where verdicts were rendered. Many of our older judicial buildings were designed with a large front porch and concrete colonnade beams, to resemble that of Solomon’s Colonnade in Jerusalem. The porch was a gathering place for the Levites and students of the law, to discuss questions and receive religious training. This was a very special place for Jesus. He sat on the porch at age twelve, answering questions and amazing the priests with his uncanny wisdom. It was here where Jesus taught the crowds as an adult. When Herod passed final judgment on Jesus, he was led from the porch into the streets of Jerusalem, where he carried the cross to Golgotha. His disciples chose to return to the porch quite often, for many of their precious memories of Jesus remained there, underneath the beautiful colonnades.

When we gather as a family each week to worship the Lord, we sit in the shade of Solomon’s porch. It is a place of learning and refreshment, filled with sound teaching, joyful music and incessant chatter. As the Spirit rains down God’s amazing love, we feel His refreshing breath of air flowing through the porch, touching every person present. It is an experience you do not want to miss. Won’t you join us in worship this weekend at Faith Church? Come and sit underneath the beautiful colonnades and experience the love of Jesus Christ. Just like the beggar, the Lord will heal your heart today, if you’ll simply come into His presence with joy!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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