It’s been over a week since I returned to Charleston from the Outer Banks. I’ve missed my crew, but she returns from Ohio today. In the meantime, I’ve primarily tried to stay cool in the sweltering, pre-summer, South Carolina, coastal sauna. Actually, it’s been warm, but it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve taken a dip in the resort pool on a couple of occasions attempting to beat the heat.
It’s been a productive week of boat work. The wifi extender/booster has been permanently installed on a pole at the stern. It markedly improves my wifi service (although there has been none for the past two days). The electric toilet on the guest side of Beatitude has been completely installed and is functioning well. I had previously repaired the generator and water-maker, as well as the stern winch switch. I’ve replaced the reefing lines. I was outside at 6:40 a.m. two days ago, giving Beatitude a well-needed bath. This morning, a gentleman gave our vessel a bottom-cleaning. Unfortunately, we are still waiting on our repaired mainsail and new “quick-cover” to be installed. Communicating with the sail loft which is doing the work has been challenging, to be charitable. It is the evening before we plan to leave Charleston, and we still don’t have it! [There were also other improvements Cindy doesn’t know about yet, so we’ll wait to reveal those. Shhh!]
I can’t say enough about our friends, the Argabrights, with whom I’ve shared a meal four times this week. Each of our get-togethers also came with wonderful chats and hanging out. They’ve been so gracious to pick me up and drop me off at the marina when needed. A couple of days ago, we ate at perhaps the best barbecue place I’ve eaten (there was one in Key West that was right up there.) Recently, on the Food Network program, Chopped, four Charleston BBQ Chefs competed. The winning chef was from Home Team BBQ. So, we decided we should try it. It was wonderful! The smokey brisket was mouth-watering delicious and oh-so tender. Yesterday, we had another excellent lunch at California Dreamin’. Very good!
Yesterday, was a very emotional day for me. Perhaps, my emotions were well-primed, seeing it was Father’s Day. I was blessed by calls from all my children by the early afternoon. My day started when I caught the 9 a.m. water taxi across the river to downtown Charleston. From the drop-off point at Charleston Maritime Center, I walked a few blocks up Calhoun Street to Mother Emanuel Church, so called because it is the oldest AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church in the south. It has one of the largest and oldest black congregations south of Baltimore. I’ve had the privilege of preaching in an AME church in my former life. As you know, it was at this church, earlier this week, that nine black worshippers were murdered this week while at Bible study, just because they were black, by a young white man.
I walked up to the church just in time to hear the powerful opening prayer booming from the loud speakers which were set up on the sidewalk because the church was packed. Hundreds stood out in the 90+ degree hot sun to share in the sorrow which has befallen these good people and to show their solidarity with the victims and their families. In his prayer, the speaker explained that the victims had gathered together in Church to do something good and praise-worthy, but evil also decided to show up. And, we should not at all be surprised, since evil also stalked Christ himself, indeed, killing the Son of God. But, the evil one is deceived and his efforts are ultimately powerless against the power of God. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated this truth. It was an unforgettable morning, being a part of this special service.
I participated in the first half-hour of the service, before walking several blocks southward through the city to yet another historic church, St. Phillips Episcopal Church. This congregation was founded in 1680, and the present building was built in 1836. The exterior of the edifice has an imposing tower and three monumental Tuscan pedimented porticoes. The interior is lovely as well. The interior columns have elaborate and ornate Corinthian capitals which decorate their uppermost parts. The service was lovely and moving. From the opening introit sung a Capella by the choir (“Teach me, O Lord, the way of they statues; And I shall keep it unto the end.”) to the Organ Postlude, the service was charged with emotion and power. Of course, much of the focus of the sermon and the hymnody regarded this week’s horrendous events at Mother Emanuel. The hymn before the sermon was switched to one which was arranged from an old Negro spiritual, two of the verses which go as follows: “In Christ there is no East or West, In Him no South or North; But one great fellowship of love Throughout the whole wide earth… Join hands, then, members of the faith, Whatever your race may be! Who serves my Father as His child Is surely kin to me.” The one point from the sermon which stood out to me was the reference to the admonition of Paul the Apostle in Romans 12:21 – “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” And, that is exactly what the families of the victims are doing. That is exactly what Mother Emanuel Church is doing. That is exactly what the other Christians and Churches in the city of Charleston are doing. And, in fact, that is what the city is doing. Unlike other American Cities which have recently suffered race-related violence, Charleston has lived out the Christian response of overcoming evil with good.
If the sails are put up tonight, we will likely leave tomorrow. If not, we won’t. I’m not sure when I will next have wifi service. So, until then, adieu.