I’ve been told by some of the residents of Lawrence Road House of Hospitality that the best room in the house isn’t in the house…it’s the front porch. Situated 30 or so feet from the rush of US206 and with room for several comfy chairs and a couple of small tables, it makes an excellent spot to sit, rain or shine, and watch the world go by.
I love front porches. They make a house look like a home. Add a great rocker, a tall, cool glass of tea, a decent book, a wisp of a breeze, and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful afternoon. Add a couple of friends and you could sit for hours.
And the best thing about a great front porch? It stands there on the front of your house as an open invitation to others to come on up and sit awhile. A great front porch is almost a public space. It’s just about impossible to pass by a friend sitting out on the front porch in the cool of the evening and not stop for a word or two. It wouldn’t be neighborly.
The Lawrence Road Church has the makings of a great front porch, high above the street with a view of the neighborhood that can’t be beat. But there it sits empty; except for the occasional bridal party, hardly anyone goes out there. The spacious porch itself and the sweeping staircase leading up it, wide and solid and bound with a beautiful wrought iron rail, are seldom used.
And that’s too bad. The church buildings are bursting out at the seams with activity. There’s a rarely a day or a night when somebody isn’t using the space. There’s never a parking spot available. But the parking lot is on the back of the church and everyone enters the building through the back door. And the front porch sits there empty.
Maybe we should put some comfy rockers out there. Maybe the Session should hold its next meeting there. Maybe we should open the doors to the sanctuary and let worship and music and laughter and the folks inside spill out onto the front porch. Who knows? With a little bit of imagination and a nudge from the Holy Spirit, that front porch might just be the best, most welcoming, most neighborly room in the building…