They are holy places.
As I walked down the stairs, my shoes clicked on the cold concrete floors, and I ran my fingers on the familiar painted concrete block walls. This wasn’t the church I had grown up in, but it sure reminded me of, when as a child, I had clicked my patent leather shoes and ran my fingers in the grooves of painted concrete blocks.
But I’m no longer a child and lately I’ve had to say goodbye to so many I love.
But, then, just as sadness of the days funeral was about to engulf me again, the aroma of every sort of casserole began to waft through the air there in the church basement stairwell.
As soon as I entered the large room, lit by rows of fluorescent light, my eyes beheld a dessert table full of homemade pies, and cakes, and cookies.
The sweetest church women were busily getting drinks for my family members who had arrived before us.
We were there because we had just buried my husband’s precious aunt, and her church home was feeding our large family.
Looking around that church basement, from table to table, were those with whom we had celebrated weddings, and baby showers, chilly Christmas nights, hot summer family reunions, and Easter Sunday dinners.
These were my people, and this church basement would serve to nourish our bellies and help begin the healing of hearts.
As we came together, I noticed the sound of sniffles began to be intermingled with laughter. Kids who had sat so quietly at the during the service wriggled free from their mommas arms and began to play and giggle.
And there, in that church basement, I looked around and was reminded, once again, that God loves us through each other— casseroles, hugs and laughter.
There in that church basement we reminisced of memories that brought fresh tears, but we also talked about the future things, happy things —college graduations, fishing, and new grand babies.
All the while, those sweet church ladies kept waiting on us and loving on us.
And you know, the truth is, no five star restaurant could ever compete with those mismatched casserole dishes, styrofoam cups, and painted concrete block walls.
It’s a holy place.
Oh friend, how we need each other. How God loves us through each other.