The Underground Railway

January 20, 1998
by Reigh Eldridge

Psalm 46:1-3,10-11 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Be still and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

In the township of Oro, near Orillia, Ontario, Canada, is a lonely, remote intersection where two roads meet at right angles. The surrounding fields are treeless and the emptiness contrasts with one corner of the intersection. On this corner is a small building, its wooden exterior unpainted and darkened by years of weather. The dark strips of wooden siding run horizontally, interrupted in the center of the front end by a dilapidated brown door. A padlock prevents first hand examination of the interior. Above the door is a sign which tells the visitor that this is the African Episcopal Church, constructed in the 1860's. A monument in the yard relates the history of slaves being smuggled from the United States in what became known as the Underground Railway. A look through the window reveals a rough, unpainted floor with wooden benches facing a small altar at the front.

Here, over 130 years ago, some of what must be God's special children, persecuted beyond our imagination, gathered to praise and thank Him for deliverance, for refuge, for strength.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us never to take for granted our freedom, especially our freedom in Christ. We praise and thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit, always with us in times of happiness and times of trouble; our refuge, our strength. Amen.

About the author:

Reigh Eldridge <rmeld@nbnet.nb.ca>
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

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