Savannah's Steepled Sky

by - November 07, 2010

Steeples are architectural towers that grace many Christian churches and cathedrals. Colonial Georgia in historic Savannah sports many because it's colonial America: the people who founded these colonies were, in fact, Christians.
Bell towers, or belfrys, were often incorporated to communicate community-wide. They spread news of celebration, of danger, of times of day. They kept the pace, and a town in safety and synchronization.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
 ~ Paul Revere's Ride, Longfellow
The word spire comes from an Anglo-Saxon root meaning spear, denoting martial strength and a reaching heavenward. Although they typically grace religious structures, the symbolism works for government edifices as well, such as the Savannah City Hall. Quite an elaborate affair, don't you think? A spire, a belfry, and a clock.
The clock tower became part of Christian architecture around AD 600 as an adaptation of a military watchtower.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. ~ Micah 7:7

 When clock towers merged with the church structure, they became more elaborate, topped with grander, taller roofs, resulting in what is known today as a steeple.
"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority."
~ Jesus, to his disciples who were anxious to see Isreal restored as a sovereign kingdom.

Then they said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.
~ Genesis 11:4
 So tell me, are these beautiful structures a demonstration to God of our proud work, to make a name for ourselves?
Or are they demonstrations of man's worship of God, a lavish offering to Him?
"The house which I am about to build will be great, for greater is our God than all the gods."
 ~ Solomon, 2 Chronicles 2:5
 Which message does this seem to communicate to you?
Is this to man's glory or God's?
I am grateful I have no need of answering. His word tells me:
Do you not know you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
 ~ 2 Corinthians 3:16
 I'm relieved that when storm clouds silhouette the cross that spires high in the sky, God sees not the beauty of the cross nor its height.
He sees our need and He reaches low.
He emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself...
and He drew near to me.

All photos are of Savannah, Georgia and taken by my son Adrian.

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  1. what a gorgeous post this is? and now i will have to
    ask the Lord where i have raised steeples to myself
    instead of Him.

    i have to admit, no matter the reason for the grandeur,
    those beautiful cathedrals draw my heart to Him rather
    than them.

    i loved your comment about the secret letters. how
    about at the birth of their first child?


  2. Oh my Dawn. So beautiful and so convicting. Yes, we are his building ...and I have a lot of work to let Him do! Thanks so much for the lesson! Thanks to Aiden too ...being a pastor's wife I tend to stop and look at the "outer shells" of the local bodies.

  3. How beautiful and lovely! But remember that first quote is from a Northern boy dearie!!!!! Call soon!

  4. Beautiful pictures and great reminder!


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