“Behold, I make all things new.”

Zion Lutheran Church of Sandoval, Texas

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

It was probably some time in the late seventies that I first noticed the painting hanging in the hallway of the church that my family attended when I was a child. Across the hall from the offices, if I remember correctly, and way up in the air (at least from the perspective of a toddler).

“What’s that?” I ask in the conversation I imagine in my head.

“That’s the old Harris Chapel Baptist Church,” my mom replies.

“What happened to it?”

“They tore it down after they built this building in the sixties,” she responds.

The nineteen-sixties seemed like ancient history to me then, even though it had been gone less than twenty years.

A simple, white frame building, yet so lovely. Situated next to the oldest part of the cemetery. On top of a slight rise.

The sidewalks that led to it were still there (and still are). We held sunrise services there every Easter. I didn’t like those nearly as much as looking at that painting in the hallway; they were too early in the morning. I remember standing close to my father, shivering in the cool morning air that was too crisp for my tastes.

Sometimes I’d try to imagine how the building must have looked before it had been demolished. What it might have looked like when you came around the curve. What it might have looked like inside. I’d think about the people I knew who had sat in those pews, many of whom now rest a stone’s throw from where that building once stood, waiting.

Forty years later, I’m miles away from Harris Crossroads in Franklin County North Carolina, but I still love seeing those country churches, like Zion Lutheran Church of Sandoval (pictured here). I’m thankful for each and every one I’m able to see and photograph. I love seeing them as I come around a curve, in the distance. With a cemetery a stone’s throw away, where people who once sat in the pews now rest, waiting to be made new.

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