This is the main meeting room of my church . Some would call it “the sanctuary”. We call it “the orange room”. For obvious reasons.
My church has been in this building for about ten years (and I’ve been attending here for six). The congregation that owned the building had this part of the structure built in 1970.
Orange was in, baby. The seventies were a good time. I was born in 1977, and when I was a baby, the church my family attended began building a new building. They moved in in 1979. Orange, apparently, was still in. This is a picture of that church, the one I grew up in, taken just yesterday at my friend’s son’s baptism.
Orange! So very orange. All that orange in two Baptist churches, just 20 minutes or so apart.
When I was a child, I loved my church. And as I got older, I still loved it, but I came to hate the orange. As a matter of fact one reason I didn’t get married in this church is because I didn’t want to deal with the orange-ness in my wedding photos.
But in my old age, I have matured. Orange is now actually my favorite color. Maybe not for carpet and upholstery and not in such large quantities, but in most other capacities, I love orange.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it was in a rusty-colored room that I came week after week to learn about Jesus. That every Sunday night, everyone in attendance – adults and kids alike – held hands in a giant circle around the auditorium and sang “Surely, the Presence of the Lord is in this Place” before we parted ways. It was in this room – surrounded by orange as much as by water – that I was baptized as well.
And so rather than be repulsed by the carroty interior of my current church, I embrace it. Years ago the original congregation moved to a larger, more modern, and I’m betting less tangerine building, and when my current church moved in they didn’t feel the need to change the decor. Maybe that’s because we meet in homes during the week, as smaller “house churches” and only meet together on the weekends. We have a church building, but we also have lots of little church meeting places, too.
But anyway. The sanctuary was re-named “the orange room”. We joke about it, but we own it.
This room has seen a lot of traffic since 1970. And there’s some predictable wear-and-tear. I mean, it’s been over 40 years, right? But we keep on patching it up. I hope there’s no talk of replacing it.
Because I really want it to be the orange room forever. I guess I’ve gotten accustomed to learning about Jesus surrounded by wall-to-wall orange. I love being with my people in the orange room.We sing. We listen. We laugh. We hug. I cry (like every week. Seriously, I am a church crybaby). I worship. I learn, am encouraged, am convicted, am broken, am rebuilt. Surrounded by orange. And love. Just as I was when I was a child.
And it wouldn’t feel right to me to “un-orange” the orange room. Because we’re a body that feels money spent on new carpeting and upholstery is well…not necessarily money well spent. There will probably come a time when it will be. But for now, this is what re-doing the upholstery and carpet looks like in the orange room.
And this is what gathering looks like in the orange room.
I really, really, really think everyone should have an orange room. Even if it’s teal, or blue, or heaven forbid, mauve. Somewhere to run and meet Jesus. Somewhere to be loved and encouraged.
The truth is, you don’t need a place to come and meet Jesus. You can do that anytime, anywhere. And I do. But I am awfully thankful for a physical space to gather with others in His name. For the privilege.
Do you have an orange room? If you don’t, I’d love to have you join me in mine.