Sacred Places stir the spirit. The Authors Collection.


Sunday night services at the Mangham United Methodist Church featured hymn singing by request. Parishioners called out the page number of a favorite selection from the little red Cokesbury Hymnal and Mrs. Ira Hixon would play it on an upright piano. (The organ was reserved for morning services.)


“One-twenty-one!” was a commonly chosen piece. In fact, if my father didn’t request it, our neighbor and his good friend would. Page 121 was the home of “The Church in the Wildwood.” The “little brown church” described in that song became a figurative sacred place for many since the song was penned by Dr. William S. Pitts in 1857. The little Methodist Church of my childhood has always been a sacred place for me.

No doubt even non-believers have some special place they hold dear. Somewhere to where they can repair and recoup. A place that spawns pleasant reveries. A place to heal. Everyone probably has such a favored setting.

In his book, 1000 Sacred Places, Christoph Engels has written about “the world’s most extraordinary spiritual sites.” How grand! In the introduction, he says, “Sacred places are where the gods and spirits live. They are a visible representation of invisible powers..” “..they are the places where the seen connect with the unseen.” He divides the world into seven sections and covers two dozen belief systems.

3b5fa1200c251a8c558b300c5d6b7773Three of the one thousand stood out for me. (Hundreds of them I found intriguing.) Stonehenge has always been a mystery. Was it really spiritually based? Engels makes a good case. Near the Lithuanian town of Siauliai stands “The Hill of Crosses.” Over 60,000 crosses of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of elaborate design and decoration commemorate the visitation of pilgrims who often come there to cling to their hopes against all odds.

In the early eighties, my family lived inBaton Rouge and had many friends and acquaintances who visited a little town between the mountains in what was then known as Yugoslavia. A pilgrimage to Medugorje required a significant investment and a journey halfway around the world. Travel agents hyped it. Fervent believers extolled the virtues of a pilgrimage with hopes of meeting the visionaries and visit the site of the sightings.

I never had the urge to go. Why travel to Asia when a simple visit to the little brown church would suffice? There’s no lovelier spot in the vail!


TheTouristKiller-3dLeft-245x300Please click the book cover image of The Tourist Killer to read more about FCEtier’s thriller.


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