Sunday, December 21, 2008

Church of the Wilderness

A phrase in a poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier (a Massachusetts Quaker) in the 1800's has stayed with the Stockbridge Mohicans to this day. "The Preacher" was the name of the poem and J.N. Davidson used the phrase "church of the wilderness" as the title of the first chapter of his history of the Stockbridge Nation. Here's part of the poem:

In the church of the wilderness Edwards wrought,
Shaping his creed at the forge of thought;
And with Thor's own hammer welded and bent
The iron links of his argument,
Which strove to grasp in its mighty span
The purpose of God and the fate of man!
Yet faithful still, in his daily round
To the weak, and the poor, and sin-sick found,
The schoolman's lore and the casuist's art
Drew warmth and life from his fervent heart.

Today the Lutheran Church of the Wilderness is one of two active Lutheran churches on the small Stockbridge-Munsee reservation.

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