Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Exit 432

Dear Future Pastor,

The last two weeks have left me with very little reserve to draw upon. My 20th century guilt was trying to convince me that it had to do with my lack of discipline or being a part of the Church As We Know It, but I knew better. I now refer to it as reality.

All this brought me to my day off work wondering what I should do about it. I had a thought to visit the Holy Family Chapel along Interstate 80 between here and Omaha. Perched upon a hill overlooking the Platte Valley, this mysterious looking edifice always invokes in me the question, “What is that thing?”

I made my way northeast along the ribbon of highway and found the exit leading down the dirt road to the quaint little sanctuary. My lack of knowledge of this place produced a little anxiety, as does anything dedicated as holy. I’m sure some passersby might have seen it as a glorified Stuckey’s to be checked off their cross country travelogue, but for me it felt somewhat ominous.

This is what I like about the Catholics. They have tried to keep the Sacred at arms length, treat it with reverence and maintain that division between it and all that is secular. They erect sanctuaries and cathedrals and monasteries and recite liturgies as a means to remind them that God is Other and I am Ordinary. The evangelicals, on the other hand, tear the veil, blunder in, and make everything familiar.

Regardless of position, all of us have to admit our tendency to slump into a complacent course. The liturgist must overcome it as well as the non-traditionalist. It is hard to keep fresh when it comes to spiritual direction.

Which is why I think my visit to Holy Family Chapel was meaningful. It was different. It was off the beaten path. It caught me off guard, and I needed that.

As I drove away, my spirit felt relieved and like a reflex I considered coming back again soon. But Something suggested otherwise. As I mulled over the rationale, I concluded that my need was not met by my visit to the Chapel itself, but mostly out of an age old Truth.

If you seek Me, you will find Me.


Les said...

The Holy Family Shrine is a great place. Its rare that people take the time to craft something so reverently. I don't know if you read the mission of the place, but its inspiring that the building itself is a ministry. I just remember Sophia running around in the chapel wanting to pick up all the stones in the water and it just seemed so appropriate.

Kansas Bob said...

I think Jesus said it well to the woman at the well when He said:

"a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem"

It was like He as saying that location is irrelevant when it come to the true worship of God.. all that matters is the way, and not the place, of worship.

Of course location can often inspire the kind of worship that God desires.