Monday, March 26, 2012
Our National Place of Worship (by Judy)
Last week I traveled with my husband and friends to Washington D.C. We planned the trip awhile ago with little thought to the time of year; but thanks to this amazing late winter and early spring, we were there at the peak of the cherry blossoms. The display surrounding the Tidal Basin was a riot of pink and white froth, gnarled tree trunks supporting such a profusion of flowers that they swept the surface of the water as they bowed low with their beautiful burden. Schoolchildren and retired couples alike literally chortled with glee.
The blossoms were not the only delight of this trip. We sampled delicious wines in the Virginia countryside; spent too few hours in the Newseum, remembering the many events from our own lifetimes as well as those of earlier times; remembered national events in a different way as we visited the monuments and memorials marking wars and famous figures; wandered the streets and shops of Georgetown; ate dinner at one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in the country; and visited our National Cathedral.
That visit has lingered in my mind for many reasons. The first is the amazing commitment that our country made to this building dedicated to the worship of God, the equal of anything Europe has to offer. Eighty three years in the construction. Generations of masons, stone-cutters, stained glass window artists. I visited several times as a girl in the 50s, when I only remember scaffolding. As a young woman where I remember the organ playing. Taking my own children, hoping to impress them with the presence of God in such stirring grandeur. Watching on TV as presidents have been honored before being laid to rest in their native states.
Churches across our country come in many sizes and shapes, adorned and plain, many denominations and non-denominational, in cities and country fields, holding God’s people close. They are only buildings, but they offer solace and common ground. The unifying factor is that they are places of worship of our God, who is an awesome God. At the National Cathedral there are no pews built into the structure. That is because in God’s house we should not sit. The proper positions are standing in praise and kneeling in prayer. Only One sits in God’s presence. The One who said, “It is finished.” You can see Him sitting above the altar at the front of this beautiful edifice which I urge all Americans to visit!