One thing my sister-in-Texas has repeatedly mentioned during my visit is that they’ve been asked one particular question multiple times by the locals. In setting up a new life in a new-to-them town in a new-to-them state the folks here in Tyler have been welcoming, helpful and friendly. It truly seems as if they’re equally concerned about the spiritual well-being of the newcomers as they are other more secular concerns. Hence they ask those putting down roots in their town a heartfelt question . . .
In our ancestral search over the last few days we discovered a common thread woven through the fabric of our family history. Several of our long gone kin have been educators, school superintendents, and promoters of better education practices. And there’s a parallel thread of deep faith. We were able to locate the abandoned church building referred to in historical notices that was started by a great, great, great of ours. Amazingly all its stained glass windows and red brick exterior are beautifully intact. We squinted through leaded glass in the church entrance doors to see rows of lovely wooden pews and altar and other platform furniture still in place as if services had just ended and the caretaker had locked up for the day. A plaque at the entrance bore the name of the church founder – one of our own, T. H. Day.
Perhaps these long gone Texas congregants asked their newcomers the very same question, “Have you found a church home yet?”
I would like to think it was not asked from a position of judgement or purely investigative but from a place of true care—from a mindset and heartfelt concern that we each need a community to belong to, a congregation if you will. A people, a place of communion and connection where truths are spoken into your life.
It’s faintly asked in a similar way by this east Texas stairway in nearby Palestine. There are good hearted folks here aplenty and it seems that even their stairways will ask.