The little church was on fire. Black smoke billowed from the peaked roof and poured from the windows into the April day. Easter Monday. A day for rejoicing. A day for remembering. And yet, on this day when the faithful flock of the church had so recently sung hymns of praise, they looked on mournfully.
Lost. Records of births and deaths and marriages. Pieces of paper crumbling away as the fire scorched it's way through the office. Gone, memories of long ago saints who had prayed in this church that had stood on this spot since 1885.
But the cross was saved. The cross that had stood at the front of the church for decades, beckoning the faithful to reverently bow before it and recall the sacrifice of Jesus, was miraculously saved, carried out by a fireman and set carefully on the lawn.
The cross was saved. Leaning against a tree trunk, scorched and blackened with smoke, the processional cross stood as a sentinel against the blaze that roared for two hours, taking a hundred fire fighters to control its wrath.
But the cross was saved. It was heavy. It was bruised. But it had survived.
And this church, too, will survive. It will once again ring with community dinners held in the basement, hymn sings in the auditorium, and strawberry festivals on the back field. It, like the cross, will be saved.
Because for this small flock, in this small corner of Delaware County, the church is not merely a building of brick and stone. The church is a living, breathing organism, changing when it needs to change. Just as a fire has laid the building low, a spiritual fire can renew and rebuild it.