You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.
—Ephesians 2:19–20 (RSV)
Bankhead is a ghost town north of Banff, Alberta—once a thriving coal-mining town housing immigrants from all over Europe. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway at the turn of the last century, it was Canada’s first planned community, with running water and electricity, sports arenas and schools, and Holy Trinity Church. Built atop a knoll between Upper Bankhead (where the miners and their families lived) and Lower Bankhead (where the mining operations were located), the church was visible from home or work, the center of the religious and social life of this peaceful Rocky Mountain town.
Though it was Catholic, the church allowed Protestants worship time whenever they could find a minister. On Saturday nights the various nationalities took turns sponsoring ethnic dances in its basement. Funerals for the miners killed below were held here; weddings too. What’s left for us is its foundation, and each time I wend my way to this place I have to search harder to find it, for the forest has slowly crept up the knoll, hiding it from view.
But here it is, its massive foundation rising out of the ground, framing the basement and topping out some ten feet high. Here the wide cement stairs climb to long-ago doors that once opened beneath a simple steeple and summoning bell. No walls now, no ceiling, no steeple or bell; just the foundation and stairs that meet the sky and heaven beyond.
Last summer I climbed the stairs, and sat, feet dangling into the basement. Slowly I began to sing a hymn: “The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. . . .” Just me and the trees, the chipmunks, the grazing elk, the breeze, and the presence of God Who lingers here still.
Dear Lord, You are my one foundation, yesterday, today and forever.