Here Comes the Dome

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Founder & Teacher,

In two years Bethlehem will be known to 50,000 people as “The Baptist Church by the Dome.”  I predict that we will do some significant improvements with our visual impact. The little gray sign on 8th Street and 7th Street may give way to larger, creative symbols, which declare clearly who we are. I can hear conversations around the city: “Did you hear what’s happening at Bethlehem?” “Bethlehem? What’s that?” “You know. That Baptist Church by the dome.” “Oh yes, I’ve seen it. No, what’s happening?” “I’m not going to tell you. But look on the sign when you drive to the game tonight. You can’t miss it.”

Since spaghetti junction was spilled onto our doorstep, Bethlehem has never been easily accessible. People are always getting lost trying to get here. Once you see us on the freeway, it’s too late! The service will be over when you get back. But the stadium is going to change that for thousands of people. The ins and outs of Elliot Park will become the back of the hand to thousands of fans. Stadium signs will be erected. Access will be improved. Small maps will be produced. And we will adapt our promotion to piggy-back on all this rising awareness of our area.

How will we cope with the traffic? Answer: Sit loose. We are not making any panic moves. This old church has seen too much change and weathered too much upheaval to be confounded by a traffic jam. We will roll with the punches.

Let’s remember this: “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:6–7). The stadium is only big in comparison to a man. In comparison to the city it is a mere marshmallow. In comparison to God it is almost invisible.

It reminds me of the tower of Babel. In Genesis 11:5 the author gets a great kick out of describing the tower’s relation to God. The people of Shimar aim to build this tower into heaven. But when God wants to see it, he has to “come down.” It’s so tiny he can’t make it out from heaven! Like a colony of ants saying, “Come, let’s build a hill to the skies.” And then we see Paul Bunyan stooping way down to examine this great hill. Remember: When God speaks one word, the earth melts. Any time he wants to help us with the stadium, all he needs to do is clear his throat.

The issue is: Will we trust him? Will we stay happy in God? Will we insert our tiny plug of faith into God’s nuclear generator? O, keep your eyes on God, and only look at your problems alongside God.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take:
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head.