Sanctuary

Welcome

Come in and settle yourself

Sit awhile and absorb this sanctuary

Empty though it seems, you are not alone here

Listen

It’s the rustle of gingham skirts

Peer through the sun beams

Look, they’re filing in

One by one men  remove their dusty hats

Children clutch their momma’s hands

Families nod to the neighbors

Ouotside the horses snort

Cecil blows a note on his harmonica

All rise and join singing, In the Sweet By-and-By

The pastor opens the Scriptures to a hush

He reads words of life and hope

A wind blows from outside and the page turns

Somber folk dressed in black stare

Silas wears his Sunday best

In a wooden box

And his widow weeps

The eulogy recalls

A good man  of mountain and field

Now to rest under oak and maple

Rain pelts a cadence on a roof of tin

Scene upon scene drifts through double doors

Wedding bells and promises to keep

Babies swaddled in grandma’s quilt

Bugs been eatin’ up the tater leaves

Bears in the trash again

Nellie’s run off with some city boy

Junior can’t stop coughin’

All have a place on hand-hewn seats

To share, to love, to join and depart

To study and pray

To rejoice and grieve

To grow together

In the sanctuary


Time to leave

Our motel’s in Pigeon Forge

Daddy, can we go to Dollywood?

Mother shifts in her seat

Father stares at the road

Thoughts tumble and swirl

Questions without answers

Emptiness cries to be filled

In the sanctuary


Note: These photos are of the Methodist Church in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Tennessee.

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