The Old Country Church

“And Simon Peter answered and said,Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:16-18.

My toothless grin, gangly arms and legs, and blonde pigtails with strands of hair sticking out this way and that identified me as the tomboy who feared nothing, almost nothing.Churchthumbnail_IMG_0080

The country church, with its high steeple, filled each churchthumbnail_IMG_0079Sunday with friends, family and giggling, whispering children. Sitting high on a hill, cradled by woods it looked like a painting by Norman Rockwell(Okay these two pictures maybe not but remember cameras don’t show it all). Two things tainted my joy attending this picturesque church.

The basement, unfinished and haunting to a seven-year-old often, at least in my memory,  contained secret hiding places for these humongous black snakes. More than once, a squeal would carry up the stairs and some brave man would come rescue us. And people wonder why I don’t like basements or snakes.

Then there were the outhouses, one for men and one for women.  Now, mind you, the women’s sported a four seater, two tall seats for grownups and two small seats for children. But the outhouses sat on the edge of a hill near the woods. I cautiously opened the door, peered in every corner and even down the hole. I had no plans of a snake sneaking up on me while I took care of business. I would have waited until I got home, but that’s what we had at home, too.

Of course, now, I look back on these memories and laugh. Faces, pass through my mind, who have long been gone. I treasure the memories of those who cared enough to give us a place to worship together, loving one another, singing off-key, pastors preaching holiness, heaven and hell, praying at the altar. It wasn’t until I was much older I realized these were the things that make a church, not the building.churchthumbnail_IMG_0083

The common thread among us was, and is, knowing Jesus Christ the Son of the living God as our Lord and Savior as we joined one another on the journey homeward. It’s good to know the church of the living God goes beyond any one building into the far reaches of the world. I’m thankful to know you as my brother/sister in Christ. May we join hearts and hands as we continue on this journey.

Did you have the privilege of growing up in church? What special memories do you hold dear?

Heavenly Father, thank you for making us one in you.

 

4 thoughts on “The Old Country Church

  1. The church I grew up in was much newer than yours. We didn’t have a basement. Or snakes. Or outhouses! The most mysterious part of our church was the balcony, which was used for storage, not extra seating. And to get to it, you had to climb the sections of wood jutting out from the stained glass windows. Now, don’t gasp over the possibility of a foot breaking a beautiful piece of art. Our stained glass windows were those heavy duty plastic kind, all shades of glorious 70’s orange. But every once in awhile my dad (part-time janitor/bug sprayer/lay pastor) would allow me to climb up there with him. It was dark, dingy and full of old chairs, hymnals and who knows what else. But the view of the sanctuary from the railing was unforgettable. The pews, communion table and altar looked much smaller. The pendant lights and wooden ceiling arches larger. But the wooden cross that hung behind the altar looked the same. It wasn’t perfect. It had a slight arc near the bottom. There’s a story behind that, which I can’t remember. I’ll ask my older siblings, who heard it more often than me! Thanks for bringing that memory back, Donna!

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