Brick building, ivy-clinging
Nearly 100 years old
Surrounded by trees
Simple cross on rooftop
Red doors which remained
Unlocked back when
The house where God lived
Was true holy sanctuary, a
Haven respected, protected
By angels unseen…
The child wore Sunday best
Like everyone did then: men in
Suits, women in nicest dresses and
Heads covered by hat, chapel lace.
It was a hushed-voice place
Of denomination’s calendared
Liturgy and hymns; sermons blurred
By Reverend’s soft monotone, and
The child’s whirring thoughts
Which lacked spiritual reference.
Oh, the quiet which embraced young
Soul who learned the Order of Service:
The “sit-stand-kneel-sit again” (in
Hard polished light wood pew) with
It’s reassuringly dependable structure
Made church comfortable, safe.
Even a somber silent distant God
Wasn’t as scary as home; He held
Things together in His hands, was
Sovereign, enthroned over chaotic world.
Much later, long after her family left
The small town and little church;
Following other churches of varied size,
Styles of worship, doctrinal statements—
“Church” became much less about a
Building or architectural vision.
(where bullets may zing as saints pray, these days)
For, God Himself had traversed galaxies,
Mega-miles, immense measurements of time,
To be as near-right-now as her next breath.
His Presence, Spirit, encompassed
Her with grace-love. His Word became
Her pillar of fire in darkness—brighter, more
Warmly delighting than new summer days.
He was bigger than religion, far beyond
Doctrines, Bible interpretations preached;
He exceeded the songs, programs,
Potluck dinners; the regimented
Positions, postures of piety, prayer.
Unknown to her, the red doors
Which welcomed her at age six
Closed permanently in fall of 2017.
The church had reached nearly a century;
The handful of congregants still
In attendance were saddened.
That young girl who once called it,
The house where God lives, reflects
Back on 60 years and says:
“‘Church’ is Jesus—
Who is fulfillment of the Law,
Embodiment of God’s love and mercy—
Living inside my heart”.
©B D Royale/Winddog Whispers, 2018. All rights reserved.
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Wow, what a story and then insight on what church is! Beautifully told!
That picture is the same as a postcard I kept in my Bible through all the years and many moves. I wondered if it was still standing, so Googled it–and discovered it had only closed last year. Lots of memories of being in the house where God lives….
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