I don’t know why this came to mind this morning…but I drifted back about 9 years to when I still lived in East Texas. As part of a project I was working on, I went to different towns to research some of the spiritual history of the area. One of the points of interest was a particular church near Palestine, TX that claimed to be the oldest Protestant church in Texas.
The oldest church in Texas was actually a bit difficult to find, because it was not in the usual place you expect to find a church, and wasn’t found on the maps. When I actually found it, its location was very interesting, and very telling.
It sat smack in the middle of a huge cemetery.
The church building was a little red building, not much larger than a shed. That’s not an exaggeration–I don’t think more than 30 people could have fit inside. The doors were padlocked. It was the custom years ago for churches to bury their dead in a cemetery adjacent to the building. And so since the 1830s, the church had been burying its dead, until it was surrounded by acres and acres of dead parishoners.
It is safe to say that the oldest church in Texas had more dead Christians than living ones.
The building itself was a reconstruction of the original 1833 building. The church was supposedly still in operation, but there was no phone number listed in the directory, no pastor to call. Guess they were happy with the amount of people they had–descendants of the people in the cemetery, by my guess. And there they sat, tucked away, nearly hidden in the East Texas woods, their only claim to fame being that they have been there the longest.
This makes lots of thoughts go through my head. What thoughts are going through yours?