Here is the Church

Kelly Salasin

Here is the Church:
Where i learned about love
with freshly-brushed bangs and rosy-pinched cheeks
and bible stories pieced together
with scissors and paste and popsicle sticks…

Here is the Church and
Here is the Steeple:
Where i met Jesus
His love, warm and constant
streaming through the windows
of my Sunday school classroom
upon white buckled shoes and ribboned dresses…

Here is the Church and
Here is the Steeple,
Open the Door
:
And see me beaming
beside sisters and cousins
an eager children’s choir,
and in that same place
under His cross
twenty years later
marrying the man of my dreams…

Here is the Church and
Here is the Steeple,
Open the Door and
See All the People
:
In these golden pews
four generations of my family pray
summers at vacation bible school
the fullness of God’s love resounding
in sea shells and glitter and song…

Here is the Church and Here is the Steeple,
Open the Door and See all the people,
Close the door
:
As we bury my mother
so young
crying Tora Lora Loo

Here is the Church and Here is the Steeple,
Open the Door and See all the People,
Close the Door and
Hear Them Pray
:
Bowed heads once brown or blonde, now grey
empty choir where the Reverend’s wife once sang
Charlie Rowe, life-long friend
forever walking Aster, parsonage to pulpit
beside each bed when sickness came
beside each grave
when love was lost…

Here is the Church and Here is the Steeple,
Open the Door and See All the People,
Close the Door and Hear Them Pray,
Open the Door
:
Onto bright yellow bonnets
hands held for photos
dollars pressed inside tiny palms
gingerly placed on golden trays
forever carried by Angels
who never age
Rejoice! He is risen!
Baskets filled with eggs
bagels and lox strewn across
my grandmother’s table…

Here is the Church and Here is the Steeple,
Open the Door and See All the People,
Close the Door and Hear Them Pray,
Open the Door and
They All Run Away…

But some come back
and once children, become pastors even
lighting memories of
graham cracker crumbs and grape-juice mustaches
skipping down the Avenue
His words in hand,
shouting
Jesus loves me, this I know!”

(This piece was written while my own boys attended Vacation Bible School at the same church I attended as a child– only now my sister and her husband/pastor were the youth leaders, and my uncle–the Pastor!)

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