The Yesteryear Country Parish

The sanctuary is small, close together, and chilly. The light coming through the ancient, simple stained glass, provides a mystic but ordinary aura. I have to pause, sit in the pew for a minute.

I see the yesteryear women and men dressed in their Sunday gathering clothes, sipping coffee, talking about the weather, a few talking about the sermon, but not too many. The pastor mills around, smiling mostly, and listens to stories.

I watch from a yesteryear distance.

The sanctuary is silent today. I’m alone, but not alone here. I’m surrounded by the communion of saints – the people who worshiped here before their current state: living and worshiping in the direct presence of God.

Their stories, rituals, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals fill this place; the pews where these families sat still seat their stories.

…and I watch and absorb from a distance of time, seeing the Artist’s work progress from then to now, still working on the same painting.

I cannot critique the Artist’s work; he has made it to be what it is today; though it seems like vandals have slipped in and scratched his canvas when he went away for dinner – to let the painting simmer for a moment.

Something inside me looks back at what the painting was a hundred years ago. I think about the beauty it was then; just a few simple strokes. Now, the painting has become more complex, but more full, as the Artist has pressed on.

…and I wonder, a hundred years from now, what people might wonder and see in their yesteryear, my today. Will they also desire this simple day, this day that feels complex to me? When they think of theology and interpretation, will they admire where we’re at today, or find it too simple, too wrong, or too misled?

I for one, today, will pause and be thankful for the Artist’s work in the yesteryear and in today. I pray my sons grow in this same affection, a simple appreciation of God and his work, that seed that has been planted in my own heart and soul.

Father, cause the intent to see my sons be with you to germinate within. Water this intent, cause it to be.