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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A Narrow Path

Many years ago, I became entangled in an argument regarding aspects of Christianity with a cousin and his wife in my family's home in Connecticut. It was Christmas time, and I felt particularly bad to have gotten into a heated debate with family about their faith. I learned that they were born-again Christians. At one point, I expressed my dismay and told them that I was very sorry. However, they said that they were not upset at all but that, to the contrary, they valued the opportunity to defend their faith and that debates of this nature only made them more resolute in their beliefs.

I only recall one small part of that evening's conversation - a point where, after a litany of their dos and don'ts, I said to them that following their road appeared to me to be an absurdly narrow path, virtually unwalkable. They were pleased by this comment and concurred, telling me that Christ said exactly that in Matthew 7:13-14 :

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

This passage was unbeknownst to me at the time and certainly gave me cause for reflection. After millennia of debate, argument, and discussion, well-schooled Christians, like others who are serious about their faith, are well-armed with answers to the myriad of objections and issues with biblical matters. Religious doctrine is not so easily dismissed as dogma of the unthinking masses.

In 2010, I made a trip through historic Richmond Town in Staten Island. The area is replete with beautiful antique structures in bucolic settings. I featured a number of postings on Staten Island and decided to leave the images of The Church of St. Andrew for a later time. Today I discovered the images in my archives of this 300-year-old church in the Richmond Town section of Staten Island.

The Church of Saint Andrew was founded in 1708 and chartered by Queen Anne in 1713. The Church  served as a hospital and headquarters for the British soldiers as the New Colonies fought for their freedom. The Rev. Richard Charlton served as the Rector of Saint Andrew’s during this time. He was the maternal grandfather of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, who was the first canonized American Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Along with her grandparents; her father, brother and sister are buried in our historic cemetery. The Rev. Samuel Seabury was called to be the first Bishop of the Episcopal Church while he was serving as Rector of the Church of Saint Andrew from 1777 until 1780.

I toured the church property. Everything conspired to persuade me that my cousins were right; as I navigated the sidewalks and walked between the headstones of the departed, indeed it did appear that good things lay along a narrow path :)

Related Posts: Not Under the Gowanus (Part 1, Part 2, and Sorry About That), Green-Wood, Everything Yes, Veneer of Their Lives, Cold Stone, Little Church Around the Corner, St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery

2 comments:

Bard said...

Good things also lie along a broad path, as your blog regularly proves :)

Randall St. Germain said...

Yes, very well said. Thanks for providing this piece of history and the church and graveyard photos are. Well done. Good composition.