Red Doors

There’s just something about heavy wooden doors on a church or red doors on any building to draw me in. These doors are attached to the Christ Episcopal Church in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

This imposing limestone building is larger than life and even more beautiful in person. The Gothic Revival design does sort of resemble a fortress but I like to think that’s to keep the devil out.

The congregation was founded in 1867 and the original brick church built two years later. The town sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers so it has seen some pretty bad floods and the original church suffered for it.

That first building was demolished in 1919. The congregation held services in a hotel down the street until this new house of worship was available for its first service on Christmas Day 1923.

As far as the red doors are concerned, there is some symbolism to be considered. Many churches use red doors to symbolize the blood of Christ while some people believe that a red door protects occupants from evil.

I once read that church doors were painted red in England during the Middle Ages to signify safety as no one would commit a crime or do harm on Holy Ground. I’m not sure that’s true today but it’s a nice idea.

Whatever the reason or the symbolism, they sure do make for a pretty picture and something special to see on your journeys.

Wood Doors And A Stone Ship

These are the front doors of Newark’s Wright Memorial United Methodist Church. I was there on a Saturday morning so they were locked but I lingered a moment to consider the ship or boat imagery above the door.

I studied just enough art history in college to know that boats of all kinds have long been associated with Christianity in a few ways- from Noah’s Ark to fishing boats and ideas of a spiritual journey on the sea of life.

Boats have also been used to symbolize the Church itself, reaching a safe haven with souls on board. Look carefully at a mast and it resembles a cross.

Yet, you don’t see a lot of boats presented so prominently in architecture choices around here. That’s not to say it isn’t there but it’s not commonly the first thing you see in this area.

Incidentally, the central seating area of a church is called the Nave. This word derives from navis, the Latin word for ship.

This church is impressive but resembles a fortress with its small windows, stone walls and heavy wood doors. I think the ship drew me in because it’s so delicate in comparison.

It reminded me of the Martin Luther King Jr quote “we may all have come on different ships but we’re in the same boat now.”

I continued on my own journey that fall day, encountering several more churches but none with this particular symbolism in the architecture. It seemed all the more special for that reason.

In The Company Of Angels

You’ve likely seen dragonflies but did you know they symbolize transformation and self realization? They are said to help us on the path of discovery and enlightenment.

I have also read that when you’re among dragonflies you’re in the company of angels. If that’s the case, a chorus of angels surrounded me for much of my hike Sunday.

Dozens, if not hundreds of dragonflies flitted in and out of my path, amongst the wildflowers and weeds along the lake shore.

In this world, there are about 5,000 species of dragonflies. In Ohio, we have documented 165. On Sunday, I saw several although I cannot name them for you. I can tell you that I very much enjoyed standing on the trail watching these mysterious creatures dance in the sunlight.

With some patience, I was able to capture a handful of pictures and am grateful for each one.

It’s a comforting idea that these colorful insects with their oddly shaped bodies and translucent wings represent more than we can see and that we are among angels.

If nothing else, they give me the feeling and even the hope that I’m on the right path.