By Pastor Mark Woodward
Maple Leaf Parish Churches: Spring Valley: Faith, Cherry Grove, Fountain, Preston
A long time ago I was doing some work at the old church in Lenora. As many of you know, the historic Lenora Church has been a labor of love for me over the years. While working in the yard, my shovel struck a buried rock about a foot under the ground. I was digging a hole for a post and the buried rock was right in my way. I worked for quite a while to liberate the boulder from its spot. Finally after much digging with both shovel and pick, I got the rock loose. It appeared that the rock may have been a part of the old church at one time. Perhaps it was left behind by the stone mason or maybe it was forgotten and eventually covered over with dirt. Nevertheless, it was the same kind of rock used for the construction of the Lenora Church back in the1860s.
The Lenora Church building has a rock solid foundation which has given support over the years. I like to think about the people who made it a priority to erect their church building out of commitment, dedication, faith, and determination as Christian people. Those people made it a priority to build their church upon a solid foundation of Christian faith.
I have included an early photo in this devotional from about 1890 of people gathered together in front of the Lenora Church. Despite the challenges of their day, these people made it a priority to construct their church building to the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
Since the 1800’s there has been considerable change in our communities here in Fillmore County. We now live in a world of advanced technology which the pioneer people of Lenora would not recognize.
As I contemplated the unearthed rock now liberated from the soil, I got to thinking about the foundation of our Christian faith. I got to thinking about the old camp song: “Jesus is the Rock and he rolls my cares away.” Yes!! Jesus is the rock solid foundation of our Christian faith! The Bible clearly tells us the words of Jesus: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” (John 14:6 NIV) These are the powerful and inspiring words of Jesus as recorded in God’s Word.
I find a great deal of hope and inspiration in the teachings of Jesus. As I stood there looking at the rock I held in my hands, I got to thinking about the firm foundation of our Christian faith found in Jesus Christ. I took that old rock home with me that day and to this day it reminds me of the foundation of my faith which is in Jesus. When I am having a bad day or when challenges seem overwhelming, I am reminded of the commitment, dedication, faith and determination of the people who worked so hard to build the Lenora Church. They trusted God to lead them forward each day.
I got out my hymnal and read and re-read the inspiring words of “How Firm a Foundation” (United Methodist Hymnal p. 529) It is a hymn of amazing power and inspiration. “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word! What more can he say than to you he hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled? Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”
The old Lenora rock is a reminder to me of how firm a foundation is our foundation when we build our lives on Jesus.
“Jesus is the rock and he rolls my cares away!” Whenever I’m having a difficult day, I am reminded of the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ! That old Lenora rock sits on the shelf at home and it is an inspiring source of encouragement, renewal and hope!
Have a beautiful day today. God’s blessings always.