It's here! The activities and worship service in celebration of 100 years of ministry of the Jicarilla Apache Church have arrived! In 1914 J. Denton Simms came to Dulce and began his part in the work that established the first Christian congregation among the Jicarilla Apache people. While we don't know the precise date of Simms arrival, we do know that the first worship service in our building was conducted on Christmas Day, 1914, and so this weekend is a good time to celebrate our beginnings as Christ's church in Dulce.
Sometimes we think of the church as a building. I'll admit that I love this building that we gather in each Sunday. It has a lot of character and it holds a lot of history. I like to walk across the wood floors and think of the people who have gathered on them for the last century. I like to look at the walls, made of adobe. I have seen bricks that were taken from the walls when a doorway was added several years ago and they were made to last a long time. And I have been in the crawl space underneath the sanctuary and have seen the foundation that this building sits on.
If the floors and walls could talk they would tell us rich stories of what has happened here in the last 100 years. Stories of baptisms. Of weddings. Of funerals. Of prayers. Stories of care and connection between people because of relationships that are founded on shared faith in Jesus. Stories of God's word being faithfully preached Sunday after Sunday. Stories of God's people gathering around His table to share in the Lord's Supper.
While we may think of the building as "the church", the church is really the people, claimed as God's own and gathered in His name, serving Him in the world. We are known here in Dulce as the congregation of the Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church, but, more than that, we are members of the body of believers in Jesus that has been building since Jesus himself walked the earth and which will continue to build until He comes again.
We are a group of Christians that has gathered for one hundred years, and we do so in faith with our sisters and brothers in Christ here in Dulce, with Christians throughout the world, and with Christians throughout centuries past. And we gather in faith because we are built on the surest foundation, a foundation that will never fail. Our foundation is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
So while we gather to celebrate one hundred years of ministry and fellowship, we do so knowing that we are built not so much on the faithful people of God over those years, but on the faithful Son of God. May we stand on Him and may He continue to strengthen and guide us until the day of His triumphant return.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.