Photo Credit: Mark Grace
Last Tuesday morning I woke up in a little slice of heaven just outside Richmond, Virginia at the Episcopal Church’s Roslyn retreat center in the rolling hills of central Virginia. I was there to do some work for the Mid-Atlantic region of my professional organization, The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.
I am thankful for the work. Though I gripe about it a good deal, I love the work I do in helping to certify pastoral educators. On this occasion I was also looking forward to being with some old friends: among many really wonderful friends and colleagues I got to spend a little time with David Hormenoo, with whom I worked and from whom learned so much over ten years in the Baylor Health Care System.
I also saw Doug Dickens, who performed the wedding for Linda and me just about fourteen years ago.
I wasn’t there long, less than twenty-four hours.
It was one of those trips, however, that brought its own surprising reward with it. For starters, I was out in a landscape that put me in mind of my days in North Central Pennsylvania, with its crisp Autumn mornings and lush forested hills.
I skipped the regional business meeting- it really wasn’t any business of mine- and opted for a walk around the grounds.
That was when I stumbled into the Bishop’s Chapel. The two pictures you find on this page are my best effort to bring a little bit of that hallowed experience to you.
I was stunned when I walked in the chapel, with light streaming in from every angle, filling the high ceilinged sanctuary.
Photo Credit: Mark Grace
As I walked down the central aisle, drawn irresistibly to the altar, I felt the force of the landscape streaming in through the windows at the back of the room.The simple oak table was set for communion.Weariness and worry left me in those moments, replaced by a sense ofcalm and gratitude. I remembered Isaiah’s description of his vision in the temple, and though I would not compare my little consolation to his great experience, I felt beyond a doubt that this moment had been prepared for me . . .
You and I do so much rushing around on Monday mornings. We have so many serious things to do, people to please and organizations to appease.
I remember what that day last week was like, the day that I found the words, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” on my lips.
Now I am unsatisfied with the rushing and the people pleasing. I just want to start this week by returning to that place- not the one in Virginia, but the one in my heart- where I found the Lord God Almighty waiting for me in quiet awareness.
What about you?