"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:2
This past weekend our congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary. I'll admit that the congregation's beginning might not have been on the first Sunday in October of 1914. We do know that the church building was finished and its first worship service was on Christmas, 1914, so it seemed reasonable to set an October date for the celebration. The first members had to be gathering by sometime in the fall, and Dulce, New Mexico, as beautiful as it is, is not the kind of place people seek to travel to in the winter. So the first weekend in October it was.
It was a busy weekend. We had a dinner and program on Friday evening. Saturday morning there was worship and the biannual meeting of the Rocky Mountain churches of our denomination. And Sunday we gathered for worship, followed by a potluck lunch. It was a lot of activity and a lot of fun.
Many people took part in the different activities of our celebration. There were current church members and their families. Several community leaders, along with members of other local churches were present. National leaders of our denomination made the trip to Dulce, along with a contingent of people from Denver who hold this congregation dear to their hearts.
With all of those people present many pictures were taken and have begun to circulate. My personal favorite is this one. It is one I took, with my phone, intending to capture something of our gathering as we shared the potluck on Sunday afternoon. I wound up capturing something unexpected.
This congregation goes back 100 years, and my family and I have been here for just one of them. As I look at the picture and recognize individuals I see people with deep roots in this church. I see the pastor who came here in 1994. And the wife of the pastor who came in 1989. And the pastor who came in 1973.
I see people in their 7th, 8th and 9th decade of life who have shared memories of this church from their 1st decade. Those are precious memories, and I feel privileged to have heard them. It never occurred to me when I was taking the picture that so many people would be recognizable in it. And when I look at it I see many people who have become dear to me over the past year.
The Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church has been present here in Dulce for 100 years. Our celebration was an opportunity to look back, and to look ahead.
The 100 years of ministry, the three days of celebration, the instant of a picture, are insignificant in comparison to the "everlasting to everlasting" of God. But each child of the God in this picture has a preciousness in His sight that we can barely grasp.
I am thankful to have been a part of the centennial celebration of this ministry, but, more than that, I am thankful for each person whose life has been changed, eternally, through this ministry, people who will one day be joined with their Savior, in His eternal glory.
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.