Friday, April 11, 2008

Ruminations from D.C.

Honestly, I can't believe I am in Maryland. I didn't even think I would get here. Finding out hours before I took off that both my flights had been cancelled, I tried booking on another airline due to the AA debacle. No one from AA would answer our phone calls. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I yelled "wish me luck!" over my shoulder to my co-workers, took my packed bags to the airport and went to the ticket-counter. "Can you board in 15 minutes?" Um, yeah! I don't know how I got on so fast when others weren't able to get on. I guess they were all standby. So, what began as an I-can't-believe-this-is-happening day turned out very well.

God is good. That's all I can say about this.

I found out at the gate counter that they had already booked me for a Saturday morning flight back, and had to extend my car rental and hotel. But after I checked in, got dinner and found my way around, I took the Metro to DC and walked around as the sun set. I had visited the Lincoln Memorial the last time I had visited, so this time I went down to the Capitol building. I had to touch it; I like old things. It is a mammoth complex. In the dark, I could barely make out the old city planning practices L'Enfant incorporated in his design. The views illuminated by traffic lights are probably not what he had originally envisioned, though. The architecture fronting the mall was like walking through my arch history books. It was as if the myths had been confirmed: that kind of architecture really does exist. The national air and space museum was also enjoyable to walk by at night. All of the airplane parts and aluminum foil-looking space craft hanging from the ceiling. A retirement center for airplanes. And the tree on the Hill that looked like it belonged in a storybook, nothing but roots and branches 4 feet wide. Probably an original. The metal gratework that reminded me of art-deco. The ADA ramp built over stairs so as not to mar the original architecture (I found that painfully ironic on the Hill in DC, is anyone with me?). Thinking about all of the machinery that was NOT at their disposal to move the dirt and build the Capitol building. Wondering what we did before streetlights, and if I were to slip past the barriers at the bottom of the Capitol steps would I make the headlines the next day (if I wasn't shot first)? Marveling at God's gifts. The knowledge He gives men to allow them to do what they do, to do what they have done. Nations rise and fall. And our Lord moves them all. They are as a drop in the bucket to Him. Our nation's Capitol is imposing, but we who are God's children have nothing to fear. Nothing about what is going on around us will harm us.

There is no structure we could build on earth that could pay tribute adequately to the God we serve. There is no architecture beautiful enough to capture Who God is. No, WE are God's temple, and I began to understand that last night as I despaired to think of anything we could create with our hands that would pay tribute adequately to God, to the Kingdom we are a part of. We are the temple, and our love to others and to God is imposing enough in the face of the evil that is in this world. Just as architecture is an order rising out of the chaos of the wilderness, so are Christians to be that order that rises out of the chaos of the wickedness that resides in men's hearts. I thought deeply of that while here, away from everything I knew, away from distractions. We are to accept that we are spiritual strangers to the world. We are dead to it. To its customs, its ways, its laws... We are to live to God in everything that we do, in everything we do to others. It results with discussing sin, and it results in serving... But it starts with living to God and dying to self. THAT is the Kingdom, and that is its architecture, its body, its temple.

I have realized lately that unless I put off ALL of me and live to ALL of Him, I will never be satisfied. Because I will still be pursuing what I think will satisfy me. But it never will. And it will continue to make me miserable, as I seek to spend what I ask for on my own desires, as it says in James. Also, if I decide to live to Him because it will satisfy me, as Paris Reidhead says "You're just a Levite working for ten shekels and a shirt." No, I have learned that living to God results in peace and blessings, but those blessings come only after I've decided that I'll live to God even if it results in pain and hardship. Because He's worthy.

So, a paid trip to DC. A car rental guy who was from the town I was going to, and who gave me quicker directions. A hotel within walking distance to my meeting. Cherry blossoms. Greenery. Quiet. God is amazing beyond words.


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