A Tapestry With Some Orange Carpet
“One scene in particular stood out to me like our orange carpet stands out to a first-time visitor, as an obvious declaration of the beauty in our stories, intertwined, intended to honor their omniscient author.”
Anthologies has told over 150 stories over the last few years. Stories of tragedy and triumph, of grace and truth— we have been telling God’s grand, global story by telling our personal stories one at a time. These collective stories serve to carry out the mission of Anthologies— to point to Jesus. And in addition to this charge exists a beautiful subtext. Our very own shining city on a hill, our very own Apex Community Church on Far Hills Avenue in Dayton, OH. We are a sum of our Anthologies past, present, and future. We are a venue to gather, a medium to grow, and a vehicle to go. But, what does that mean? What is this community about? How has this community affected me? How have I affected this community? This is a question I’ve been pondering since taking over as Editor. Perhaps it’s a question you’ve asked yourself at some point.
I alone cannot answer this question. I can offer up my proverbial puzzle pieces to be matched and interlocked with the pieces only you posses. Reflecting on the last 6 or so years has reminded me of something important. It’s not about me. It’s not about a building. It’s about the story being told, the picture being painted. Here are what some of my pieces look like. Maybe you can relate.
I see the first church I dared step foot in after a long, self-imposed absence from all things church related.
I see our 70’s chic, burnt-orange, carpeted backdrop on which tears have been shed, coffee has been spilled
(directly onto me and mine from the balcony one Easter) and duct-taped repairs hold sentimental value.
I see the community who financially supported my trip through Southeast Asia so I could learn how to combat sex trafficking abroad. The same community who then generously gave of their time, three years in a row, to fight sex trafficking in Dayton by delivering bars of soap to local hotels during the First Four.
I see a Mission Cafe which began as a one-time fundraiser and has evolved into a missionary-sending, orphan-caring, fund-raising, volunteer-connecting machine.
I see a building that hosts events to facilitate conversations and overcome fear with love on relevant social issues like fearing different cultures, race and reconciliation, and the rapidly growing heroin epidemic.
I see compassionate, patient volunteers working so hard in our nurseries— very often to comfort the screaming of my youngest (sorry guys!)
I see a place where my taciturn husband (otherwise known as the Ginger Ninja) and his stoic skill set have the perfect place to serve on the safety team. Seriously, he’s very intimidating!
I see Kingdom work being done through Apex Xenia and the dedicated Xenia staff I’ve been lucky enough to call my friends and co-workers.
Remember how all stories are an echo of the gospel? How we are a part of the greatest story ever told? Humor me as I elaborate using a primetime drama series. Perhaps you’ve maybe heard of this new show that was kind of popular called “This Is Us?” Yeah, I know. It’s been suggested this show is potentially the best show ever created. And for good reason. It hits you “right in the feels” as kids these days tend to say. (“feels” is short for “feelings”, yeah?) And while it’s no “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” it’s an irrefutably good show. Early in the first season one scene in particular stood out to me like our orange carpet stands out to a first-time visitor—as an obvious declaration of the beauty in our stories, intertwined, intended to honor their omniscient author. If ‘This Is Us’ were a band, this scene would be their self-titled, debut album.
Do you see it? My story wouldn’t be complete if it stood alone. My story is your story, is our story. Paul’s words in Colossians 2:2, “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,” are more than pleasantries spoken amongst believers. They are a blueprint for God’s story. A story, not about a building or a specific group of people, but about the God who knits together a diverse group of broken people so, together, they may reflect the beauty of the gospel.
Thankfully, we don’t have to ask ourselves, “What if life is a painting and we’re all in it?” We don’t have to ask because we know. We feel. We believe. We see. We are a part of the original masterpiece. A masterpiece that, of course, includes orange carpet.
Author- Elizabeth Van Dine
A Reflection… What does this community mean to you? Take time today to identify some of your Apex Community Church puzzle pieces. Reach out to someone whose story impacted your own.
To submit a story to be told through Anthologies, click here. To apply to join our team of volunteer writers, photographers, and videographers, click here. Questions for the Editor-in-Chief? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org