While traveling in Germany, Richard and I were taken with the dedication of the people to rebuild their churches after World War II. We were reminded that in acts of military strategy often churches were targeted because it was a ways to break the will of people. However, these vestiges of war often became beacons of resilience and hope. As churches were rebuilt, what could be preserved of the old was worked along side of new features. They became constant reminders of the traditions of the past and the hope for the future.
When Richard and I travel, we are always drawn to Houses of Worship – whether they are Christian or of other faiths. To us they are places of familiarity, of refuge, an opportunity to remember who and who’s we are. Each time we are drawn to a church we experience a sense of comfort, of being home, and we recognize an opportunity to re-center, re-focus, and re-dedicate our lives anew.
I follow a certain ritual when entering houses of worship. First, I try to invite a sense of reverence before entering. I enter through the front door with eyes to the floor, then look up, adjust my sight and take in what is before me. I try to be aware of the first impression that forms; then allow myself to be drawn to wherever the Spirit leads. I always try to stand as close to the altar area as possible. As is our custom, Richard and I together settle into a pew and bow our heads in prayer. We typically leave in silence or in hushed whispers until we are outside once again surrounded by the day’s light and life outside.
Take a deep breath, smile and go forward.