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Posts Tagged ‘recognition’

I heard some astonishing words by the minister who led our church back in the ’90’s.  They have stayed with me for their simplicity, clarity and directness.

“I love churches,” he said.

“Of course, you probably do,” I thought.  Yet as simple and innocuous as his words sounded, I have remembered them over the years.  Do I love churches enough to declare those words if not from a pulpit, from this blog?

It was then it occurred to me, I too, love churches.  They are always among the places I visit when I travel.   The cathedral of Sevilla, Notre Dame of Paris, Saint-Chappelle, Westminster Abbey in London, Saint Michel in Normandy and the three Basílicas of Our Virgen of Guadalupe in Mexico.

I love that their doors are always open to visitors.  I love the immensity of their interiors, the stained glass, the reverence of those who visit inside.  I’ll never forget a flute concert I attended in Saint Chappelle.  The notes resonated against the stone walls and stained glass windows.

In London, I waited minutes before the hour and then the hour came when I could hear the bells of Westminster Abbey.    When I entered the abbey I was humbled by the greatness of the simple tombs that lay in the floors beneath.  Alfred Lord Tennyson to name just one.

And I heard the bells of St. Michel toll several times as we spent hours on its tiny “island” having lunch at a nearby café and shopping along the streets below this abbey.  You may remember my post about “The Clock”, a clock I gifted my father that had two of these three chimes.

Churches are grand as I mentioned above and they are small. There are mega churches, simple wooden frame churches.  Some others are brick and others are made of stone.  Some have steeples, some have bell towers. Inside, some have bowling alleys and some have simple collapsible tables to set up the church pot luck.

They are places of worship and they are meeting places.  In my small town our annual piano recital was held at Temple Beth-El.

There was a Russian Orthodox church in the Alaskan town where my grandmother lived.  It was emblematic of her island.  She spoke about it reverently and with pride, that it was the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in North America.  When  it burned years ago,  I remember my mother remarking on the tragedy of it.

A quilted and embroidered sea of churches by my friend A. georgettesullins.wordpress.com

When our first daughter was born, my friend A.  gifted me a beautifully quilted piece .  “I know you love churches,” she said and I thought these colors would be lovely in the baby’s room.   It hung in the baby’s room and then again when #2 was born.  It was #2 who kept it hanging in her room and then took it with her for her own home.  She decided to remove it from the frame and use it as a blanket for our grandson #2.  A talented friend who is good with a needle sewed it with batting and a lovely yellow backing.   I love knowing that our grandson is wrapped and covered in the love and promise  of that blanket made by a friend.   I have said it before and I will say it again.  Every baby should have the love of homemade.

Really?   Even before I heard our minister pronounce his unforgettable words, my friend knew I loved churches?  I still reflect on that lovely gift.

Flash forward many years. My mother told me when her dad died it was the catholic nuns who came to comfort them, feed them, and find them a home. My mother and grandmother were not catholic.

When my dad died, I will never forget the kind priest who led his funeral. My father was not catholic. I learned something that week in my grief. I learned that churches don’t necessarily exclude. At their best they include.

Time and time again, my faith has been tested…and it has been renewed.

Last week we received the most amazing news. Daughter #2, a single mom in CA told us she is being recognized as “single mom of the season” at her church. Very recently I posted about an Advent calendar I made for her and grandson last year so that I could be assured they’d have a tree starting December 1. Little did I know, my daughter’s church thought she and my grandson should have one, too. So some spiritual friends showed up at her door last weekend with a tree and gifts and all. Filled with gratitude for that congregation, yes, I can say it too, I love churches. Merry Christmas!

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