Hearing the Prayers Once Said

When built, this church was beautiful…
Light streaming through stained glass
Flooded the floor with rainbows.
Now it tenaciously clings to memories,
Ancient stories of faded past.
 
Smells of mildew, old lady perfume,
Whiffs of incense mixed with coffee.
Is this what God now smells like?
Tarnished brass name-plates
“In memory of…” affixed to every wall.
Were the wounded healed?
How did flames upon the altar blow away?
 
Once this was a vibrant sanctuary,
Celebrated baptisms and Eucharist,
Sang hymns for more than a hundred years.
How did they serve the community?
Was it too progressive?  Too conservative?
Where did the generous people go?
 
What became of the call, the sense of vibrant mission?
Were years of prayers not answered?
Was the pastor and leadership asleep?
Were they naively optimistic about the hard journey
God was leading them toward?
 
Now birds fly through broken windows,
Roost and build nests in empty space,
Noise of traffic smoothers the flowering spirit.
Here, I stand and hear the prayers once said,
Still held as echoes within crumbling stone walls.
Suppose the dead would come alive….
What would they have to say?

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