Just before Christmas, my husband and I traveled to Oklahoma and found ourselves in the tiny town of Crescent, with a population of a mere 1300. It’s the kind of town that makes you wonder how people ended up there, with its antiquated main street storefronts and rundown houses. At a glance, the word that comes to mind is, desolate, but beneath the surface lies strong roots of community and of faith.
In the place we were staying, Just across the street, adjacent to an empty lot, is a tiny clapboard house serving as a makeshift church. It reminded me of the marvel of a dandelion growing in the crack of a sidewalk or a tree on the side of a rocky cliff. Just as life itself finds even the smallest of things to cling to in even the most barren of places or harshest environments, finds a way to grow, survive…and so does faith.
That Sunday morning, cars lined the street out front and a song of praise drifted through the air.
Mt Vernon Methodist Worship Center
I’m reminded too of the Coptic Christian’s throughout the middle east, in places like Egypt, persecuted yet bear the tattooed cross on their wrist or hand, an indelible mark of their faith and a 700 year old tradition of survival in hostile lands.
Also, in the Soviet Union, underground churches survived, some preaching for nearly 70 years with nothing more than a single page from the bible in such an environment were even The Soviet Constitution of 1977 contained a requirement for parents to raise their children as atheists. It was legally possible to deprive parents of their children if they failed to raise them as atheists yet faith clung.
I took account of all the ease and freedom that we have become so impervious to, so easily take for granted, squander. I wonder if it’s the struggle for survival itself that gives them such strong roots, roots that hold even in the most barren of places? And, whether our roots would be strong enough to hold.