I went to my 2nd hometown this weekend–Beaufort, SC. It was a place where I watched my parents “go home” to the ones they loved and who loved them.
To cousins and grandparents, to friends and historical markers–of their days on earth and the ones who came before.
Long before my parents lived here, Englishman William Bull, born in 1683, helped establish the Sheldon Church.
This location had become the core of his family’s existence.
This place had been sacred to William Bull and his family, who had emigrated from Warwickshire, England.
The passage of time in Pocotaligo, SC as the colonies became states meant a great deal to Mr. Bull.
Little did he know that Robert E. Lee would visit here or that General William T. Sherman would burn his way through here a second time in 1865.
I visited the old Sheldon Church which still stands unobtrusively in its unmarked forest.
These remnants, off the beaten path, were once a brand new building proudly named
“Church of Prince William’s Parish,”
built between 1745 and 1755, before the American Revolution.
It followed the example of Greek temple architecture, with impressive Tuscan columns, towering walls and massive arches.
The British army burned it in 1799 during the Revolutionary War.
It was rebuilt in 1826 and renamed Sheldon Church of Prince William’s Parish,
only to face conflagration again at the hands of Sherman’s arsonists in 1865 during the Civil War.
“If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is,
because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. It it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved,
but only as one escaping through the flames.” 1 Cor 3
Like a wounded soldier, I reflect on the structures of my past that are still standing after various attacks, and wonder what battles lie ahead.
One way of life ends and another very different season begins.
“I often get homesick. …,” the Civil War soldier confesses, adding that a friend says that it is obvious because “…he says he can see it in my countenance very plainly. … Our company will all be uniformed in a few days. We are not armed … At night, some are enjoyed in reading the Bible or prayers – some playing on the violin – some singing all sorts of songs – and a great many other amusements, all going on at the same time.”
My friends and I read each other like a book. We pray for one another and together are weighed down and shaken to the core.
Ministry. Pregnancy. Divorce. Sickness. Finances. Parenting. Honor. Respect. Discipline.
We are being burned to the ground DAILY.
What is left of me?
On December 6, 1861, the Civil War soldier wrote “…I know not what moment I may be called into battle.
Should I be killed, I know that I will die in a glorious cause and find that God will be with me through all trials and finally save me in His kingdom.
I often dream and think of you all. Though absent in person, I am present in thought and feeling with you….”
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body…
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day….
so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4
What we build together will last. Love binds us, salvation secures us, prayer preserves us. This hope is our true home.