If we would have new knowledge, we must get a whole world of new questions. ~Susanne K. Langer
You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again. But I’m in the very presence of God— oh, how refreshing it is! I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do!
Psalm 73:25-26 MSG
While my husband and I were on Hilton Head, we took a boat ride to called Dafuskie Island. It is just minutes from Hilton Head Island, and whole new world. There is much rich history on this island. For me, the fascination began when we pulled in to the church.
The First African Baptist Church to be exact. To its left, the “roots” of this church have been rebuilt.
This is called a Praise House.
I liked it immediately. (Just the name alone!)What I learned was that some plantation owners recognized the need for the slaves to have a place to worship. They made the houses small to avoid large numbers being able to plan. The only instruments were walking sticks used to keep the rhythm, the human body, the voice. Drums were not permitted (in many praise houses if not all) because the fear was that the drums “talked”.The people were divided. Men and women worshiped separately for as many as four hours at a time. This gave them time to sing, praise, pray and catch up on the news of the others.
Four hours! Can you imagine being at church for four hours? Sunday was sacred to master and slave and though they worshiped separately, they worshiped. One of the most amazing things to me is that the church (the white building) is growing, and has a full time pastor. The congregation is fully integrated and pretty much non-denominational. An amazing experience.
Some of my questions were answered about the ways of African American worship got its start, and I was so joyful that the church, on an island of 400 full time residents, is growing, as is the industry. The community is harmonious and cooperative. Nature requires it (regular hurricanes).
I returned on the cruise, in the rain, feeling a new joy, a new sense of church and a deeper respect for the people our ancestors forced from their homes to serve.
Today, as you walk about the country, praise the living God. With your voice, with your steps, with your whole being. Be a Praise House. He is the island to which we must repair.
Because of Him,