|View from Campground porch|
The hymn “The Church is One Foundation” is chiming from the bell tower of the Methodist Church on the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association. I know all the words by heart. It’s funny how the songs from childhood are preserved in their very own special place in our brains -- melodies and words intact. The Camp Meeting Association was formerly a religious Association. All of that has changed with time and the availability of government grants to preserve historic sites. Many of the strict religious guidelines have disappeared (no alcohol on the property) or become lax (no co-habitation between unmarried people). There are traditions going back over 150 years here. Some of them are hard to break. As home-owners, we sign a yearly lease on our land from the Association. We agree to abide by the guidelines and rules of the Association, even though they can be frustrating. For example, no power-tools or outside work may be done on homes on Sundays. Our houses are close - reach out your arm and touch your neighbor’s house close. It is a life-style choice like few others. One of the things I do treasure about living on the Campgrounds is that twice each day, the chimes ring. At noon and 6 p.m., we hear an excerpt from a hymn. In a time when we are taking lessons in being mindful and present in our everyday lives, these chimes do it for me. They remind me to stop for the thirty to ninety seconds that the hymn plays. Just stop. Whatever I am doing. Just stop. I let the music, with its familiar refrains, wash over me. As the last note fades out, I return to pick up my pen, stir the pot, fold the laundry. However, with these twice daily musical interludes, I claim at least two minutes for nothing more than the uplifting solace of hearing beloved hymns from my childhood. For those two minutes, I am fully mindful and fully present.
On YouTube, you can listen to "Rock of Ages."