Saturday, April 30, 2011

A bathroom, a Beckstein, and incomprehensible incantations

After leading lectionary and working with  John on finances, I head to the church to work with Danielle. She has found a large piece of signboard wedged into the door. Covered with looks like words in a foreign language. Arabic? Hebrew? Amharic? (For years the West-Park security desk was filled by the same Ethiopian family.)
Elle Newman passes by, concerned about my wife’s elbow. 
As we are locking up, we hear a noise at the door. It’s someone from the Department of Buildings. A piece of leader drain pipe has fallen into the yard next door. Over a week ago. Someone called 311. Annoyed they didn’t just walk over. Call. While the roofers were here working. We go down to the back yard to check out the  situation. Sure enough, there’s a pipe in the yard next door and a missing piece of our pipe and the remaining pipe dangling. 
The DOB man gives us 24 hours to correct the situation. How can that work out? Danielle calls the roofers. They’ll come back, first thing tomorrow. 
I show up at 8 am to let the roofers in. I’m getting nervous as my time to leave for court fast approaches. They show up around 8:45. I’ve got just enough time.
After a morning in the personal injury netherworld of the legal system, I return. Danielle has had an exciting day  with the roofers. She’s been through the crawl space and out the back to check out a leader. She won their respect by going with them to the roof, going up and over the peak. 
A pigeon somehow made his way in from the cordoned off pigeon room. We have yet to reclaim that space. He’s hidden out under a shovel all day. John the roofer is fascinated. 
The piano movers have moved the piano back from Leila’s fourth floor walk-up on 89th. After almost three years the Beckstein, the piano of Jens Nygaard of the Jupiter Symphony is back! A bathroom and a Beckstein, how cool is that?
Ludovica arrives for a look at her planned rehearsal space. Checks out the bathroom. Tells us what needs to be done. More than we bargained for. When she leaves, Danielle and I head to Mc Alpin. Drag the old gym mats out. Throw one out on the street. Take out an old twisted folding chair. Remove tables, junk. Empty the space.
As we drag the heavy gym mat out, as I think about  all that still needs to get cleaned out, thrown out, I realize that we ‘ve reached a critical point. The congregation needs to move beyond isn’t it cool to be back in the building and figure out  what it will take to make it real. And if they’re ready to make that commitment or not. This is it.

The prophet is on the steps, weaving his hands, rocking back and forth, incomprehensible incantations. Could he have written the mysterious words on the cardboard sign?  A van pulls up. A guy jumps out, picks up the mangled folding  chair, tries to stomp it back into shape, jumps back in the van, takes off. 

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