The windows had long been boarded up, layers of grey paint were chipped and falling off the building, the lights on the marquee burned out long ago, and there was evidence of water damage on the soft, shifting bricks. By outward appearance to those who traveled by, this building seemed to be no longer in use. Had it long since lost its grandeur? For many in the community the answer seemed to be yes and tear this grey elephant down.
From preschool age to retiree’s, the doors of this theatre had welcomed generations of residents. It had played the role of entertainer, baby-sitter, first date attraction, and educator to the many who stepped into this magical world. There were far too many memories to let the movies remain silent and doors be closed for good.
Saved by a community effort over a decade ago, this historic theatre is now showing first run movies four nights a week. Volunteers serve movie goers at the concession stands, a retired couple volunteer as caregivers for this treasured gem and donations continue to be received in order keep the doors of this theatre open. Costs are kept to a minimum and movies continued to be shown. Yet, this cornerstone in the community still was slowly disintegrating. No longer what it use to be.
Then, through the joint efforts of local organizations, renovations were planned for this building. The necessary steps were taken. A feasibility study was done to see the true condition of this once magnificent building. An architect was hired to help oversee the process needed for this building to “come back” to life. With money raised and plans in place, the restoration has begun.
Have you ever meet an individual whose life is like this old, worn-out building? The condition of their hearts parallel the state of this dilapidated building. They have long since boarded up the windows. Shut off from feeling any type of emotions, these individuals are broken by the storms of life. The light has gone out not only in their eyes, but also in their spirit.
These hurting souls do just what they need to do, only to survive. Realizing they are not the person they once were, or the person they could become. Visions flash before their eyes as they see life disintegrating into a pile of rubble.
The disintegration can come through abuse, sorrow, broken relationships, addictions, illness, pride or hypocrisy. The crumbling can happen in a minute, day or hour. While sometimes it takes generations to collapse. Yet, the light doesn’t have to remain out and the collapse can be rebuilt and restored.
No matter what the condition of a heart, life can be breathed back into it. Scripture tells us in Isaiah 61 that Jesus was “sent to preach good news to the poor, heal the broken hearted and set the captives free.” Like an architect seeing the true condition of this building, Jesus sees the true condition of ones heart. Unlike how some people felt about this old theatre, Jesus never feels that a person is beyond hope and needs to be torn down. Jesus gently calls the broken hearted to him. He opens up the windows, calm the storms and brings restoration to the heart.