I spent last week in Nashville for the Festival ofHomiletics, a preaching conference I try to attend every year.  Roughly 1300 preachers from acrossNorth America come together for four days of lectures, workshops, and worshipservices.  I had never been to Nashvillebefore, so I was more excited for the Festival than usual.  The one place I had to visit was the Parthenon-the only exact size duplication ofthe Athens Parthenon in the world.  Ihope to go to Greece someday; Nashville will have to do for now.


The Parthenon was originally built for Nashville'scentennial celebration in 1897.  It was atemporary, plaster structure, meant to inspire the public to appreciateart.  The Parthenon was so popular that apermanent one was dedicated in 1931.  Asa history guy, I loved walking through the exhibit of the pictures of theoriginal exhibition.  Hundreds of people,all well dressed, were packed around the Parthenon, taking in all the differentexhibitions.  The pictures of thatturn-of-the-century era reminded me of the pictures I see whenever I visithistoric churches.  Often panoramic, theblack and white pictures feature children dressed all in white, the men wearhats, the ladies gloves and print dresses. Hundreds of people, sometimes.  Thepictures may hang on the wall or they are encased in glass.  Our church has a wonderful display of itshistory next to the elevator.  Have youever stopped there to check out some of our church's story?  Did you know that in 2012 we'll celebrate our110th anniversary?

Last Sunday was Pentecost, the anniversary of the birth ofthe Church, when the Spirit descended upon the original disciples as theygathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. The disciples were transformed at that moment to apostles-from studentsto teachers-and immediately began to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  God added more and more people to the mix, andtheir witness expanded from a neighborhood to the city to the world.  This is what we celebrate at Pentecost: theenduring witness of the Church, from its beginnings to today. 

It's fun to walk through history, whether a huge structurelike the Parthenon or a few bookcases in a hallway.  Checking out the pictures, reading theletters, inspecting the memorabilia, is great. But the past is not all there is. There's the future to pray about-where is God leading us?  And there is the present-what is God doingtoday?  Sometimes it's easy to get stuckin the past-or the future-and ignore the good things already happening.  I am so proud to be part of a church with agreat past.  A great present.  And a great future.   The Spirit continues to blow!

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on all of us!