Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wayfarer's Chapel

The Wayfarer's Chapel sits serenely on a cliff face in California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Its architect, Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright), named it well. It is entirely made of local stone, Redwood and glass, its geometric shape beckoning from its height those who race by on the highway and stream boldly into the bay below.

It is a small chapel but its effect is powerful. The California sun streams through its massive glass panels, yet the green trees and other vegetation surrounding it keep the heat from rising to an uncomfortable level. There seems to be no barrier between what is inside and what is out.

The altar is also small, tucked up against the front under massive Redwood beams and a circular window that frames the branch of a reaching Pine. The altar is made of stone, its front engraved with the words Our Father Who Art in Heaven. The steps that lead up to it continue the prayer… Hallowed be Thy Name … Thy Kingdom Come… Thy will be done. Those words, emblazoned in that place, seem to invite the universe as well as God to make it so. They invited me, drew me, sanctioned me to that calling.

Standing in the middle of that small place on a clear winter's day, there seemed to be no barrier between me and the earth and sky and God Himself. I felt exposed, yet did not shrink away, seen, yet lifted my head and heart toward the One watching. All in the stillness, all within the strength of soaring wood, within the delicate and fragile enclosure of glass and grace.

In his book, Chasing Francis, Ian M. Cron wrote - "You go on a pilgrimage because you know there's something missing inside your soul and the only way you can find it is to go to sacred places, places where God made himself known to others. In sacred places, something gets done to you that you've been unable to do for yourself" (p.42)

I didn't know I was on a pilgrimage that day. The pilgrimage found me, perhaps, when I entered that sacred place and became aware, again that there was "something missing inside." Just looking at the photographs I took that day stir that longing in me still, to be united fully, to see face to face, to be known. To have something done to me that I cannot do for myself.

I remembered, in that place, which seemed to have no barrier between me and God, that it was He who had accomplished just such an astonishing feat. It was He who reached through the barriers I had erected against Him, and invited me, drew me with irresistible grace and sanctified me according to His purposes. It was there I recognized once again, that something had been done to me that I could not do for myself. Salvation.

"... But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1Corinthians 6:11).