Posts Tagged With: God is love

Houses of the Holy

Even though Charleston is known as the Holy City, there are more than a few beautiful houses of worship in Savannah.

Congregation Mickve Israel on Gordon Street is the only Gothic synagogue in the US. (Of course I never actually took a photo of it even though we passed it about five hundred times but you need to see it. Y’all thank Google for the image.) This is at the top of my list for the next time I’m in Savannah. Must pay homage to my ancestors. (And seriously? A Gothic synagogue!?! How freaking cool is that!)

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We toured the First African Baptist Church on Montgomery Street.
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The church was built by local slaves.
It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. The lower level floor had about four and a half feet underneath it. And there are holes drilled in the floor in specific symbols that were used as air flow for those hidden below. But because they were religious symbols, no one was the wiser.
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You can see that some of the floor boards have been replaced because the diamond and cross are incomplete.

Every one of the pews in the church is curved. They are absolutely beautiful! They’re curved so each congregant is equally close to the pulpit. (Or something more eloquent than that…) I told YBW I wanted one of their pews to have at home. He sometimes just looks and me with a look of gentle amusement with a dash of ‘are you for real?’
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The stained glass was as beautiful. This teeny piece was my absolute favorite.
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I do love me some daisies.
What moved me about this church is that it currently has a very active congregation. When we were there it was there food bank day. The lower level was filled with groceries, bags of food, and probably fifty people working. I kind of wanted to stay and help them…I loved seeing how hard they were working their ministry. There was laughter and singing and just general good fun in their hard work.

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The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is open every day. You can wander in any time except during their daily service between 11:30 and 12:30.
It had gorgeous Gothic architecture. The ceiling was the most beautiful color blue. The alters were stunning. The pews were straight (how boring)

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We were in the the cathedral with a couple of school groups. I could hear the guides giving information and asking questions. It was all done in stage whispers. It was so deliciously quiet in that enormous room of worship.
I lit a candle and said a prayer while I was there.

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Candle at the far right is my prayer.

Of course there are many more churches in Savannah. And they have many stories to tell…I’m going to go back and learn more!

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sometimes you have to make your own light

Christmas Eve at the Cathedral was magical!
We made a quick stop at the space window before going downstairs to see the nativities.
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Once downstairs, we kind of went out separate ways.
I spent a moment of prayer in St Joseph’s Chapel (My favorite space in the entire building.) before moving along to the creche exhibit.
YBW said he felt a bit jaded, that because we go each season, he feels as though he’s seen them all. I don’t feel jaded in the least. Though I do feel like these nativities were not as lovely as some we’ve seen in the past. Precious few moved me enough to photograph them.
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I especially liked this one from South Africa made of fabric and glass beads. No donkey and camel in this nativity, but the lion and zebra sure came to celebrate baby Jesus!

Thing 2 came to find me and asked if I’d lit my prayer candle yet. I hadn’t, so she took my hand an led me through the gorgeously colorful mosaics of the Resurrection Chapel to the Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage. This is the teeniest little room with a spiral stone staircase, a few wooden chairs along the wall behind a small kneeling alter in front of the candle table.
I hugged her tightly and told her this was where I always lit my prayer candles. She nodded and whispered that she just knew it.
She had been there before she found me, I could see the freshly lit candle and sense her presence. She sat in the corner behind me and I kneeled for a moment before using her candle to light mine.
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God is in us. Always. There is no need to be in a house of worship to feel that connection. But in that moment in that tiny dark room I felt it more keenly than the way I carry God with me every day.
Perhaps it was being there with my baby. The one I always pray for in that particular room?

We left the Cathedral for the ellipse where the National Christmas tree was waiting for us.
Thing 2 and I drove past on our way home from the Nutcracker earlier that week. Honestly this tree has the prettiest lights I think I’ve seen in my entire life. But none of the trees were lighted this Christmas Eve afternoon. (Pourquoi pas?)
Thing 2, of course, was all about the trains. Thing 1 and I dug around for pennies and we took turns tossing them into baskets on the trains as they passed by. (We made more than we missed, go us!) Thing 2 mused what the change was used for. I teased that it was to pay the electric bill so the trees could be lit. Then she decided she would want to be one of the people who worked there with the trains. She could keep them running smoothly and gather up the change on the grass and hand it to all the small children standing along the fence so they could try their luck as the train cars went by. Thing 1 and I agreed that it would a great job for her.

Finally, we were tired and ready to head home. YBW got this shot of us walking together.
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(I’m on the left, Thing 1 in the middle, and Thing 2 on the right.)

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I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

This tiny verse from Song of Solomon makes my heart so happy. A emailed me about the wedding bulletin asking from which version of the Bible I pulled this Old Testament reading because she wasn’t sure about it. My Bible is a New King James version, a gift from my mother.

YBW’s nephew is doing this particular reading. Song of Solomon 2:10-14,16 and 8:6-7. I “cherry picked” what I liked most. (It’s my Bible AND my wedding so I can read what I want to.) As much as I love what’s going on in this bit of scripture, it’s 2:16 that sells it. In my Bible is actually reads: My beloved is mine and I am his. But I like it the other way better.

What’s so wonderful about it is that it isn’t just YBW and me as beloveds. It’s about being beloved of God.
A personal relationship with God is intimate and fulfilling and has so much love.
It makes sense to me that the words of love in Song of Songs use the love between two people as the example from which to learn. That our ideal relationship with God can be likened to and understood as the ideal relationship between two people.

So many people use God as vengeance. Not that there aren’t a bazillion examples to site…but to me, God is love. And if I love God and God loves me then I can use that concept of love to make my love for YBW even more fulfilling.
YBW is my beloved.
Why?
Because I know how to love him and be loved by him.
How?
Because I have faith. Because I trust.
I wouldn’t know how to do that if the love of God wasn’t in me.

I’m extremely private about my relationship with God. I don’t talk about it much. It’s complicated and we’ve had our ups and downs. And for a little while I turned my back on it.
But what I do know is that there is love in me.

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