“Cathedrals and Temples were the skyscrapers of their day.” (Stephy Chung – CNN) The world’s tallest building (2,717’) is in Dubai, and it’s about 1000’ taller than the new World Trade Center in NYC. When it comes to places of worship, bigger isn’t always better. I remember being impressed by the Little Brown Church in the Vale and also by the Crystal Cathedral. Do you have a favorite? If so, it’s probably because it impacted your life in some way. ;-) Jack
FROM HONEST JOHN: I liked the Romanesque cathedrals in Germany...and the little church in Stockholm...in the amusement park....of course, great memories of the churches I grew up in and the ones I served.====JACK: Church? In one sense, it's a place where the people of God gather. In the more perfect sense, it is the people of God. Both are right, in their own use. I see today's quote as a commentary on the influence of the Church, past and present.
FROM MP: The "White Dove of the Desert" Mission Church just south of Tucson.====JACK: Wow! Since I have not seen this church, my mind envisioned a small modern white adobe building.
I was surprised to see a European-style building dating to the 18th century. It was interesting to read about the mission work in that area of Arizona. What a beautiful name for that church!====MP: Yes, (we've visited) a number of times. We almost stop in when we go past it. Inside is smaller than it perhaps appears. We often thought we would renew our marriage vows there one day.====JACK: Renewing wedding vows at the White Dove Church sounds like a good idea. I'd suggest adding it to your "To Do List" and putting it near the top!
FROM MY LAWYER: El Duomo in Milan. This took 40 years to build! Zoom in on the detail of the sculptures. ====JACK: I've read that the construction of that church began in 1386 and was completed 600 later. It's the 5th largest church in the world.
FROM RI IN BOSTON: The chapel at Ronchamp, France.====JACK: I didn't expect something as "modern," but I like it. Speaking of modern, I like how St. Peter's Lutheran Church has been incorporated into NYC's CitiCorp skyscraper....the Church meeting the people where they are.
FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA: One of the most striking memories I have of a religious edifice is from our family’s 1984 visit to Germany, where we traced Bach’s and Luther’s life journeys, which were in more or less the same narrow geographical strip but in opposite directions. We visited Marburg, but the most memorable church for me was the cathedral in Leipzig, touching the old door handle Herr Bach must have used to enter that edifice. On a very different schedule, we visited two old churches in New Mexico. One of them was constructed by Indians (brought from some distance away) under the “guidance” of the Padres, according to the plaque on the building. We know that guidance was more or less enslavement and often led to their deaths. Another, in a more rural area, was constructed with love by the parishioners. The two places had a very different feel. I don’t remember the names of either.====JACK: That was a touching story about Bach...and about the Indians, too. I've read that the organs of Bach's time don't exist anymore, so it's impossible to touch the keys that he touched. However, there are people who have gone to Jerusalem and been thrilled to "walk where Jesus walked." In my case, I'm content just to listen to Bach's music and to read the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables.====HT: don’t know about that story the organs of that time don’t exist anymore—I had a recording by E. Power Biggs of the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, played on something like 14 different European organs, and as I recall some of them were very old.====JACK: What I've read is that Bach's organ does not exist.... until someone discovers it in a church attic.
FROM TARMART REV: In many of our rural towns it is not unusual to see a Catholic or Lutheran church steeple high above all other buildings while passing through. Meaning for me, it is!! ====JACK: Wouldn't it be nice to have a "Prayer Chapel" set aside in the local Walmart or Target?" On second thought, maybe there is. It doesn't look like a typical chapel. It's just a table in the coffee shop where a guy sits (and waits) eating popcorn.====REV: Shared in a few prayers there, in deed!!====JACK: I wonder if your ministry outside of the church doors hasn't been more rewarding than what has gone on inside...not that the inside work has not been rewarding in its own way.
FROM JAYHAWKER DON: "Beauty" is defined by impact for me. In 1952 I visited Marienkirche in East Berlin with 5 German students. (Another story explains five German companions.) This 'scared' American in EastBerlin arrived 45 minutes before the service and had to stand in the aisle about 2/3 way back. Church was full. Bishop Dibelius was preacher, but I understood such numbers were not all that unusual. Standing there in silence, organ had not been replaced, I tried not to be too obvious as an American in East Berlin. Finally, a brass choir played from the balcony, leading "Sonne der Gerechtigkeit" (ELW 657 - "Rise, O Son of Righteousness"). My first preview of Judgement Day? Just recalled my license plate is CQK 657 -- Chautauqua County Kansas "Rise, Son of Righteousness" ====JACK: When we "go to church," we don't go to the building, we go to the experience....at least, that's how I interpret it. BTW, did you choose that plate number on purpose? My sister's license plate is PLS 10Q, because she always reminded her children to say, "Please and Thank you."
FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL: shepherd of the valley Lutheran church!====JACK: In retrospect, I've found it to be the people, rather than the building.====ST PAUL: absolutely! the body of Christ is not made of brick and mortar. btw, have you read how ignominiously the ministry of Robert Schuler ended. about 40 million in debt and the church now sold to the Catholics who have renamed it. kind of a sad story all around. wonder where all those folks are now who we are part of that fellowship. or was it mostly weekly guests and visitors and people just sight seeing? pardon my cynicism.====JACK: The Crystal Cathedral, even under a different name is still a church, because the people of God gather there. The demise of the Schuller ministry was in part because of demographics. The generation that supported him increasingly died off. When I visited there years ago there was a thriving congregation, besides the Sunday visitors. In today's political arena success is often dependent upon numbers. The Church sometimes measures success/failure in the same way. I would not be surprised to learn that God measures in a different way.
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: There is a small chapel in the Hartwick Pines in Grayling, MI., that I absolutely love. There was another too, in the Smokey Mountain Park. It is a church that is still being used today but it's very very old. When we were there inside it, someone started singing Amazing Grace. We all sang with him and it was Amazing!====JACK: I believe that God was there in the singing of Amazing Grace. Omnipresent is one of the theological terms that is used to describe God. The other two O words are Omnipotent and Omniscient.
FROM KF IN MICHIGAN: My top picks (after HSLC of course): Westminster Abbey Chapel by the Sea (Captiva Island, FL) St. Paul's - Dearborn====JACK: I can imagine that each one of thes places has an attraction for you that goes beyond the looks of the building, except (maybe) Westminster Abbey.
FROM CHESTER THE GOOD: While stationed in China, I made several trips to the hills to visit a Buddhist temple. It was the most serene place I've ever visited. Absolutely amazing. No, I didn't convert, but I did pray there.====JACK: Since God is everywhere, we can contact him in prayer anywhere.
FROM MARMAR: Bethany Lutheran Church in Irma WI. What a beautiful little church that was. Fond memories.====JACK: Yesterday, I came across a 1996 Calendar of Country Churches which featured the Irma church on the cover.
FROM SBP IN FLORIDA: The Crystal Cathedral and surroundings have always engendered a sense of awe for me. And, you are right, the demographics were changing! St. Anne in Calumet, MI remains (as a childhood memory) the most intimidating....dark and cold inside and out.
In my mind I hear " Wherever two or more are gathered my name...". And I feel that when my neighbors and I on the walkway for evening chats. We are in the most beautiful of cathedrals. ====JACK: A church camp located in the woods has been called the Cathedral in the Pines. I wonder what the U.P. of Michigan looked like before the logging industry removed the ancient pines that covered the land. Even without a building, one could stand beneath those magnificent trees and feel the presence of God.