The air is scented with the smells of fresh paint and cleaning solution. The former silence of the empty parsonage is interrupted by whirling drills, pounding hammers, and humming vacuums. Amid the cacophony of activities are workers, some directing when to lift and what to measure, and others serving as tool-fetchers and cleaners. Their chatter is filled with excited anticipation. It is as though Paul Revere ascended the North Church tower to shout, “The Biedermanns are coming, the Biedermanns are coming!”
Church members and other volunteers have been feverishly working to brighten this home and make it as welcoming as possible. The walls have been painted and all the woodwork washed. New flooring and mop boards were installed in the kitchen and entryway. The ceiling lights have been scrubbed, the drapery linens laundered, the cupboards washed and painted, the carpets steam cleaned, some carpets removed, the windows washed, the cobwebs evicted from the basement rafters, a new stove hood installed, the electrical outlets/lights all mapped, the rain gutters cleaned, nettles eliminated from the garage-side rock garden, flowers weeded, light bulbs replaced, a new coat rack installed, new washer/dryer and refrigerator delivered, and the old freezer and massively heavy concrete basement sink hauled up the basement stairs assisted by a come-along winch and four brave men. Whew!
But that isn’t all. The last minute touch-up painting has begun, the new counter top awaits mounting, a new screen door waits quietly for placement, the freshly painted kitchen cupboards will be paper lined, and on and on and on. One could tire of the endless list of to-dos, but that isn’t happening. Every day church members and friends voluntarily show up to make this home beautiful. They are smiling and laughing as they work together. It is a joyful place. If the walls could talk, they would surely tell us of other families that lived and loved here. And they too would smile knowing that yet another parson comes to honor this place, a parson who knows that things happen by grace, not from our own doing, but from the gifts of God. (Ephesians 2:8)