Monday, December 01, 2008

Apparently it's not just the West

I love living where I do. I discovered just how much I love living out here when I had to make a trip back home during seminary and saw the mountains again for the first time in almost a year.

But one of the problems in living here is that people have so many other options for Sunday morning . . . hiking, fishing, camping, hunting . . . The biggest challenge I face as a priest is, "Why should I go to church when I can be with God out in his creation?"

I've always heard that that was a particularly Northwest attitude.

Apparently I was wrong.

There was an article in the NYT today about the celebration service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; this was their first service in a fully cleaned and restored building after a devastating fire in 2001. For the first time in years, people could see details that had been long lost as a result from the fire as well as New York City sludge. At the end of the article was a quote from a man who came late to the service and waited until the place emptied out to find a seat and take it in:

“I just come here because it’s my favorite building in New York,” he said. “The scale of this place. The way the sound travels. The light. It makes you aware of what’s important.”

I wanted to say, "Do you bother coming on Sundays?" . . . or . . . "If you want to be aware of what's important, try coming for worship."

Now, to be fair, maybe he is part of a faith community somewhere. But I got the distinct feeling that beautiful buildings to a New Yorker are what the mountains are to a Northwesterner.

"I can sit here in this beautiful place and be reminded of what's important. Why would I need to make a commitment to a faith community?"

Why indeed.


First time comments will be moderated.