Sunday, October 24, 2010

Outward Appearances

This past June, we winded our way through the Appalachians en route to Southern Pines, NC. While in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, we happened upon this little sight:

If we look at the exterior of this edifice, we see it is not elaborate, it is not histrionic, nor is it ornate in anyway. At first sight, it appears there is a fair amount of work that needs to be done. And yet, despite the weathered and worn look, it still looks like a place of solace and comfort to me.

If only those walls could talk. For I can see a setting so calm, so serene, and so full of history that I can imagine the Waltons attending, on a sunny Sunday morning. No doubt there were many stories behind the rough exterior that would cause a person to pause and be thankful for the many blessings we have received, in our lives.

The lesson we can learn from this scene is how rough and worn people might look at first glance. And yet, sometimes it is those people who are at the most peace with God and themselves--unlike many who may look sharp and fresh everyday.

We know from reading the Bible that God looks at the inside of a person. He seeks out the depths of a person's heart, soul, and spirit and He cares little for outward appearances.

So as we navigate this journey we call life, it is imperative that we learn not to go on first sight, when making an assessment of someone we do not know. For it may very well be those people could have closer relationship with God, and thus a far greater understanding of Him.

Peace be with all of you this Sunday, and through the coming week.


Anonymous said...

“The lesson we can learn from this scene is how rough and worn people might look at first glance …”

Well sir, if you think I look rough and worn from your perspective, you should see how I look from where I’m standing.

Actually, I’ve had most of my bubbles already busted. There was a time when I had the romantic view of the world, how God-fearing men and women went to church each Sunday to be close to Him, to study and learn how to become better Christians. Then Rockwell’s fantasies and the reality of segregated churches became apparent. We know that Rockwell’s paintings represented how he wished life could be in the United States; we realize why millions of blacks re-converted to Islam in search of their African roots. We may wish it were otherwise, we may wish to give warning to the blacks that they are deluding themselves, but I’m not holding my breath. Personally, I think if we wish to find God, it won’t be in churches such as this one; it will be from within our hearts. If he is not there, he isn’t anywhere.

LASunsett said...

//Personally, I think if we wish to find God, it won’t be in churches such as this one; it will be from within our hearts. If he is not there, he isn’t anywhere.//

Churches are simply buildings made of man-made or fashioned materials, constructed by human hands. So you are correct in your assessment of where God dwells.

However, my point was simply to illustrate the outward appearance of this simple piece of construction, highlighting its outward flaws, while contrasting it with larger more elaborate ones like the Crystal Cathedral (which is in bankruptcy).

Z said...

Mustang, I look at that beautiful picture of that lovely old worn church and think we CAN find God in there.......if we're looking. Or not.
I can't help but think of even atheists or agnostics walking into that place and suddenly whispering instead of know? A sudden lowering of voices because there IS something there.
LA, I like to think of the marriages that happened there and wonderful years of life which followed and children being baptized and funerals for good, honest CHristian people from the community.
That place says a million things just by sitting there all by its lonesome........what a pretty picture, thanks.

Catherine Barry said...

Having traveled through the Blue Ridge Mountain area and the Shenandoah Vally many times in recent years, when I see these sights, I wonder how many families got in their horse and wagon or carriages and made the trek to this church during good times and bad. How many went there on Sundays to pray for their soldiers away, fight for our country (or in the case of the War between the States) the CSA. How many funeral services have occurred in those walls to comfort and support families who have lost a loved one or how many weddings and baptisms. It is my thinking that churches served the communities every bit as much as they served God in years past. I think if we could go back to those simpler times, we would all understand God much sooner in life. Fellowship is as much about keeping communities together as it is about going to church on Sunday to see what everyone else is wearing or doing. I like your point Sunsett, and understand very well what Mustang is saying. Much of what is wrong with people today is the steady march away from God and the principals our parents and grand parents held, IMHO. A relationship with God is about narrowing the gap between man and God by allowing the Savior to bridge it. When you shut out the Savior, as modern liberals try to do, you dismantle the bridge. I say keep building the bridge.

Wonderful blog Sunsett!

LASunsett said...


Thank you for your comment. I'd like to continue to write posts here, but there have been times when radical shiite Christians have come here to condemn, rather than discuss. So I have backed off a bit.

Theology is like politics in that no two people will have exactly the same views on a given subject. But differences can be shared and debated without condemning someone to hell, calling them a heretic, or just generally presenting themselves as a judge over others. We had that here awhile back.

But do stay tuned, I will post more in the future. Some things you may agree with, others you may not. But always know that I will not allow others to play God and sully up this blog with their crass and ungodly behavior.

Mustang always raises valid questions about theology.... as he does in other subjects. The same can be said of others who have graced this blog with their presence. I don;t always agree with them, but would never presume to believe they are condemned by God for raising them.

Thanks again for your response and like I said, stay tuned. More to come.