What are you up to Jesus?
Some of you who have been close to the adventure we are on know that Tricia and I prayed in Simsbury a year before we came to the Pioneer Valley he would put imagine/Northampton smack dab in the center of Northampton. And, we wanted to be right on Main Street; right in the center of it all.
When we moved in the summer of 2008, we moved into Rev. James Taylor's house in Sunderland, 20 minutes north of Northampton. It was a necessary detour I have realized in hindsight. He also gave us offices just off Main Street, and only 90 seconds from where he would give us to live next. So in the summer of 2009 he opened 70 Main Street to us. The apartment, what I call our "crib," (homage to mny being a jazz musician in the late 60's and through the 70's), is right in the center of town where Main Street intersects with Pleasant and King Streets. The building is on the southeaster corner of a crossroads in the center of town, on Main Street! God answered our prayer and then some!
When we first moved in, more than one Jesus-follower noted the "strategic" significance of God putting us right in the middle of the city. They saw it as the beginning of something profound God was up to. Not only are we living on Main Street at a crossroads, but we are just across the street from where Jonathan Edwards served as Pastor in the early 18th Century. The building he served in burned down centuries ago, but we are just across the street just the same.
While I am not equating anything we are up too as being equivalent to the First Great Awakening, I am noting something seems to be percolating. There are hints
And that is just the half of it.
Yesterday, Tricia, Jim and I met with David Pesuit, the landlord of the building where imagine/Northampton has its offices, as well as the building where we live. He owns them both. A few months ago the tenants in the office space on the second floor of 70 Main Street moved out. We have been meeting for a month at our crib for worship. We are outgrowing it already. If we have 20+ people it gets cramped. So we met David to see the second floor office as a potential next space for imagine/Northampton. As he was telling us about the space and some of the history of the building he mentioned: "Oh yeah," it also sits on the site of the very first church in Northampton. It was on this very spot in the 1600's. What?
It took a minute for me to realize we were gathering where the first Christians in Northampton gathered-at the very same crossroads. When I let the realization take hold, I was moved by the mysterious way God seems to be pulling our mission together. There hints of Kingdom design we never suspected:
1. Joseph Hawley was Jonathan Edwards cousin. Tricia's maiden name is Hawley. hawleys help settle Northampton.
2. We prayed to live in the center of the city on Main Street and here we are.
3. We live across the street from the site of meeting house where Jonathan Edwards preached, and the First Great Awakening sprung (at least one the key places in America).
4. We are meeting as a church on the very site where the first church in Northampton was gathered.
Something Kingdom wonderful seems afoot.
Lest you think I have delusions of grandeur, I don't. All of this is not just a little intimidating if I am reading the signs correctly and not coming to false conclusions. There are responsibilities that come with it, heavy responsibilities to be faithful and and diligent with our part of the deal. We need to persevere no matter the trial or testing.
What we realized yesterday also added significance to a vision Tricia saw this summer after we moved. God opened her eyes to the fact the crossroads where we live and are meeting as a church, is protected by huge warrior angels. They are stationed on the roofs of each building on each corner. In the fall, someone confirmed independently without knowing it what Tricia saw.
God is creating something and we seem to be strategically placed to play our part.
Wow! We are continuing to discover this God who is far more than we can imagine. We are experiencing what we are calling others to. I love it!
So my simple prayer is we will be faithful and obedient to what God has summoned us to at 70 Main Street. May we not miss anything he has assigned us to fulfill.
Lord Jesus, fully establish the Kingdom work of our hands entrusted to us and be glorified on our watch!