I heard the tale of a ghost that resides on the third story of the church on Red Mill Road. He never did harm anyone, but his presence is uneasy. Almost like when you are walking down the street and feel like someone is watching you from behind a window.
I remember seeing a light on as I passed the church one night, so I ran in to turn the light off. After flipping the light switch I heard what sounding like running down the hallway by where the children learned of all the great things God has done for them. I went to see what the sound was, but there was nothing. Nothing that is but the feel of an uneasy and awkward gaze; but I don’t believe in ghosts per say. I guess, though, it doesn’t really matter what I believe. Only what is. I often will say that churches are some of the most spiritually active buildings on earth because that is where Satan wants to halt God’s work. If he can halt us in church, we become easy prey outside when we are away from our brothers and sisters, but this ghostly presence didn’t feel dark. No, it felt like a child wanting to play but afraid to be turned away.
Someone else told the story of being up on the third floor during the day cleaning. When he had finished, he turned to walk toward the elevator and saw that yellow light on the call button already lit. Sure enough, he was not mistaken. When he got to the elevator from the other end of the hallway, the call button was pressed and the elevator was already on its way up. He checked to make sure no one was on the third floor with him and there wasn’t. The ghost of Gorman was both bashful and helpful.
I’ve often wondered about the validity of such stories, but whether or not they are true a sense of adventure is sparked within us, especially as we investigate or consider the possibilities. Then I wonder what a ghostly presence would do when its routine is interrupted.
Every Sunday morning the church on Red Mill Road is abuzz with people coming in for close, beneficial community, worship and to have their mind’s engaged with ideas from God’s very revelation. The halls are full of life, excitement, love and learning. A bashful spirit would engage, but stay hidden. He would feel the life, the excitement, the love and the learning and this would keep him sustained and enlivened throughout the week. What if one Sunday no one showed up?
Sunday morning came around and the spirit waited for the first person to come. Usually he is there around 8:00am to open the doors. He comes in, prays for the day, makes sure everything is ready for what they call Sunday School and then reads until someone else comes in. This time, no one came. There was no beep of the key card opening the office door and no lights coming on frightening the bashful spirit. 9 o’clock came and there was no music, no piano and no rush of people making sure everything was ready for the worship service. No one came in to turn on the computer in the children’s room and there were no music videos playing. Oh how the spirit loved to sit, unperceivable, and watch the children sing to the videos. Secretly, he danced to the music and worshipped along with them; but not today. The only light in the whole building was the light that came in from outside through the windows.
Why wasn’t anyone here? The spirit was utterly concerned and decided to begin an investigation. He walked out of the lonely classroom and decided to go downstairs, a brave adventure that he had only attempted once before. The adults were scary, or at least tall and that was scary enough. After going down one flight of stairs and before going into the large auditorium, he caught a glimpse of the ground outside. It was different than usual. The last time he had seen it, it had been lush and green with a grey pathway. Now everything was white. If this white powder kept people away, then it must have been one of the most evil things on the planet. At least, that’s what the spirit deduced. If it was one of the most evil things on the planet, then, as bashful as he was, the ghost of Gorman must do something about it. What could he do? All he wanted was to have his people back. He needed them.
For the first time, this ghost stepped outside. The great thing about being a spirit is that he didn’t even have to use the door, he could simply move through the material. Somehow, though, the bashful little guy tripped on the doorframe and landed face first in the powder. He immediately jumped up, eyes wide open, and rushed to brush all the snow off himself. He was startled as he started to look up and saw someone looking straight at him. He jumped back, lost his footing and fell into the snow again: this time backwards. After pushing himself up to see who was there, the spirit noticed that it was his own reflection in the glass door. He had never seen himself before because he had always been invisible. Perhaps it was the combination of cold and white fluff that made it possible. He did not expect to look like one of the small people he danced with on a regular Sunday morning.
He had hair, or what looked like hair: almost like dread locks but more bouncy and thinner. It was long, too and at this moment was frozen so it didn’t move. His little eyes were also frozen open and he had a name written on his shirt, or what looked like his shirt: too big for him and almost touching the ground. The name was Asher.
Asher decided that it was too cold out to try to defeat the white powder so that his people would come back. He would simply miss them today and hope for the fluff to be gone the next day people would come. He tried to get back through the door, but he hit it and stayed outside. His frozen hair and eyes made it difficult to get through the door. The solution was easy: Asher put his hand through the glass door, opened it from the inside and went back in.
So, if you miss church today know that Asher misses you too. Because he misses the community gathering together for life, love, excitement and learning, he wants you to know that us meeting for the purpose of worship is everything to him and wants to see us back soon. If you see that little apparition dancing in the snow or if you see something in the church move passed a window while there is no one inside, be reminded of the importance of meeting as often as possible together with your church family: not just going to church but being with your church family. It is these meetings where we love each other, give life to one another, experience worship together and share what God has revealed to us with one another. It is so necessary to our lives that it actually does hurt when even one member is absent. There is no other place like it and we should never forsake meeting together. At least, I think that’s what Asher would say if we heard from him today.