For the love which from our birth over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.
- From the hymn of the same name
One of my most loyal readers sent me this picture and as soon as i looked at it I knew I had to use it for a blog. The words of the beautiful hymn used as the title for this blog with the first verse shown above just sprang to mind because small, old country churches are one of my most favorite things to see when I drive around the rural area where I live. And beautiful hymns and beautiful churches just open my heart to the the Spirit of the Lord whenever I see beautiful pictures of here music of faith. My mind starts going in quick motion as I try to imagine the history behind a small, old country church like this one. What could the story be and what is it trying to tell us?
The beautiful and simple elegance of the church speaks out that it has been around a long time and while we see a fairly modern headstone for a cemetery in the picture, I imagine there are many older ones there where the inscriptions have faded away. It's time frame is also given away by what appears to be an outhouse on its left under a tree. I would guess it was built sometime in the 1800's. It could be in the wide expanses of the Midwest farm belt, but also somewhere like Eastern North Carolina where large farming areas go as far as the eye can see. We can also tell that it looks very well taken care of and is likely still active to a small congregation of rural folks nearby. Many such churches can be seen throughout rural America today when you get off the interstates and take the smaller, slower roadways. They offer so much beautiful scenery, history and nostalgia, true Americana of this land when the population was smaller, people could deal with people based on their word and honor and love of God and country were a major goals in family upbringing.
I hope we never come to a time when we bulldoze over small rural places that offer so much charm, character and individualism, for as we grow, pretty old white clapboard churches and old country houses with big welcoming porches and large shade trees give way to modernistic, cookie cutter buildings with lots of glass, steel, and tightly closed structures that mark a landscape where almost everything looks just like the last place you visited. There's just something about open windows, fresh air, the sound of birds singing and children playing and laughing that brings heart and soul to our surroundings. And nothing was more wonderful than attending Sunday church in a facility where everyone knew each other and sang hymns out loud with great joy, then going home to one of those old fashioned and welcoming homes for a wonderful Sunday dinner, then often an afternoon nap before ending the day with a neighborhood game outside in the fresh air.
So, in a nutshell, this picture is of Americana with all the traditional values that used to be so prevalent among us and kept us in line but also happy as we grew up. Keep the Spirit alive by remembering these things. They are important for the soul.