The following story was written by Carl Carlson, a past member and lay leader of Good Shepherd. Carl wrote several stories about the building of the current sanctuary, which was completed in spring of 2001, and with which he was heavily involved. The stories not only share a glimmer of Good Shepherd’s history, but also connect faith and life in real, humorous and touching ways.
Where do we put the cold air return ducts in the new sanctuary? Seems like there should be a simple answer, but like most design issues in the building process, there were a lot of trade-offs. The cold air returns needed to be large enough to handle the high volume of air, located to minimize drafts, and as inconspicuous as possible for aesthetic reasons. It was decided that placing the large ducts under the altar platform was the best solution. To avoid unsightly metal grills in the 6-inch riser of the altar platform, we decided to use wood strips along the entire perimeter of the riser.
Construction of the altar platform framework went smoothly and the hardwood flooring was installed. Unfortunately, the construction process had left a considerable amount of dirt, rubble and debris hidden under the platform. I knew the dirt would circulate throughout the sanctuary when the air-conditioning system was cranked up, an unhealthy situation for the lungs of the worshipers and the well-being of the Building Chairman. Before the final step of installing the wood strips along the 6-inch altar riser, something had to be done about the dirt.
One sunny Saturday morning, I decided to solve the problem by bringing my handy shop vac from home and cleaning under the platform. I discovered that, by lying on the floor and stretching my right arm under the platform, I could reach most of the debris with the nozzle of the shop vac. Unfortunately, I also discovered that the sharp nails protruding down from the hardwood floor above, were not “user friendly” to my right arm. Sitting down on the edge of the altar platform to assess the damage, I noticed the wounds were superficial, but, nevertheless, rivulets of crimson blood were flowing down my forearm. As I sat there on that quiet Saturday morning, watching the sunlight streaming through the upper window and impinging on the glistening flow of blood, I was struck by the realization that countless future worshipers would kneel on this exact place. They would confess the dirt, debris and sinfulness hidden under the platforms of their lives. They would receive the assurance that over 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ cleaned up their mess through His sacrificial wounds and death. They would hear the words – “The blood of Christ shed for you” and then leave this very spot with the reassurance of receiving God’s Grace.
When I wiped the blood from my arm and applied a bandaid or two to my forearm, I knew I would heal quickly from my minor scratches and they would soon be forgotten. However, I will never forget the image of the shop vac and the spilled blood – for it vividly reminds me of His sacrifice for me.
Now you know the “inside” story. . . . . . . .Carl Carlson