Wednesday, December 11, 2013
the white church in the valley
It is mid afternoon and the sun slants to my left streaking the yard with tree trunk shade.It is Christmas coming time and the longing for it fills me.For the Good who we call God. For beauty.And the simple.
This seems to me to be a crazy time in our country where people are suing to add their "festivus" tree to traditional displays.Trees with beer cans hanging from them.Put in public places with Christmas trees and menorahs.Something about this tickles me, and saddens me at the same time.That seeing a stable with a babe could cause mental anguish enough that one would call a lawyer.Get that creche out of my sight,it offends me.There is a wave of this going on and I wonder where it will all end.Should we ban the movie,"It's A Wonderful Life" because there is an angel in it?
Again, I come back to the grey,lifeless buildings of that state that had nothing holy,the Soviet Union. The only poetry allowed was those that extolled the state.Will we change the names of San Francisco and Los Angeles?Will we stamp out our heritage along with religion?How anchorless we will be.Maybe that is the point.Because there is a point.These are not some random actions.It is a movement and it is not at all subtle.
On my wall is a picture of a church.It is a small white Methodist building that has been in the Spruceton valley in the Catskills since the 1800s.My sister is buried in a cemetery behind it.When you drive around the bend in the road, the steeple always seemed to say that all is well and you are almost home.It is unused now but cared for.Once a year, the valley folk hold a service there and we attend if we are there.We remember the people who went before who sang hymns in that church.And the recent members of the valley who died,the preacher's wife at 85 and the father of four who passed at 62.The church connects and when the autumn leaves turn, their brilliance is framed by the stark white.
The photo that I have is of the church at sunrise.The white winter sun is shining through the windows lighting the inside as if prayers were being said.This is not a building but a sign.
This is a simple church, a beautiful touchstone in the valley and I cannot picture a world without all that it says to me.