Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write a Travelogue (11/06/14)
TITLE: Where Worship Once Ascended
By Diane M. Bowman
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Somewhere between the two cities, our hot pink tour bus took a left turn into a freshly plowed field. With a rather disgruntled driver at the wheel, we crept across the field to Deutsch Wymysle, the small farming village on the other side. In a region still recovering from foreign control, modern equipment tilled one field while every able-bodied villager worked the next with horses. The local people didn’t view the large tractors as welcome progress, but as a way for the rich to become richer and the poor, poorer.
While most of our group had traveled from the United States and Canada to gain a glimpse of the history of the church in Europe, a few were returning home for the first time. A home they’d fled just ahead of enemy armies during World War II. One of these men requested we visit the tiny hamlet. In particular, he wanted to see the village church.
Like any small village, the friendly people who lived there ranged from very young, very curious children (It’s not every day that a pink tour bus showed up at their door.), to tired, wrinkled, and weary mothers and grandmothers. From men whose hands and face showed the signs of a life of toil, to the man who’d had just a little too much to drink. Causing great embarrassment to his fellow townsfolk, the slightly pickled man spent his time both welcoming and terrorizing the young girls in the tour group by attempting to kiss as many as he could.
At our request, conveyed with difficulty through our Luxembourger guide’s broken Polish and some universally understood hand motions, they opened the doors of the long forgotten church.
A rusty metal roof rested on the painted brick building. Wear and tear of years had removed the paint from around windows and on the building’s corners. Inside, the disrepair matched the outside.
In a sanctuary overhung by cobwebs, the echoes of many years past sounded in our ears. Pigeons cooed in the place where an earnest minister of God had proclaimed his word to his people. A dusty, bedraggled ping pong table sat where the saints of God had faithfully knelt in prayer. The place from which worship once ascended was quiet. Boards covered the windows where light once poured out.
This church, once the center of the community was now the place children flocked in, not to worship, not out of familiarity, but to see the inside of an abandoned building they’d only ever seen from the outside. It was a desolate place, not one where worship had never rose from, but one where worship had been and died. Would praise ever rise again from the dust of neglect?
Our group loved to sing. We sang hymns in every grand cathedral we visited. We raised our voices in praise at every landmark, in every restaurant, and museum on our schedule. We even sang in a concentration camp, just to prove that God always triumphs over evil. This long abandoned building would be no different. From the church in that hamlet where few ever visit, from that place to which no road leads, once again, worship ascended and mingled with the praises of those who cry “Holy, Holy, Holy,” in the throne room of the Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Revelation 4:8 KJV
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