For Pentecost this year, several of us were asked to talk about someone who has been a hero of the faith. Many mentioned were saints long gone, but my chosen hero was a very present and very dear friend. He celebrates a big day today, and so I share why he is a hero in my eyes.
Many times during her sermons, and pretty much at every wedding and baby dedication, Cindy asks us to look around the room at all of the people who love us. As I look around the room today, I see a room full of heroes. But also as I look around the room......I see a room. If these walls could talk they would bear witness to the life of this church family. We have said hello to new friends and good-bye to old. We've been married here, had our babies dedicated here, we have lit candles and shared stories. The most sacred moments within the life of this family have happened right here in this room. (Not to mention some of the most irreverent!)
Today I celebrate Mike Jupin, who stepped into a machine shop and saw in it a potential home for a raggedy little group of exiles. Mike's vision for this repurposed worship space was infectious. We too began to see it for what it would be rather than what it was. Several of us had our weddings here paying little regard to the fact that there was still a loading dock over here, and a big sign saying the room was condemned by the fire marshal on the back wall.
Mike has truly been Jeff Street's visionary, pushing us to move forward in faith, literally and figuratively in more matters than real estate. Don't say “impossible” to Mike. He brokers in hope, and we at Jeff Street are forever rich because of that.
Just as you enter the door to this building there is a group of stones in the wall- our Ebenezer stones- our monument to God's faithfulness, carried over from Jeff Street to Liberty Street and set here within these walls. It was a mighty hopeful gesture to step away from that place and into this, and Mike led the way for us. Thanks be to God for the gift that Mike is to our family.