Monday, May 6, 2013

A Wayfarer's Visit to a Chapel

I feel a little lost right now.

Not that I think I'm going to find my way through religion, but in my wandering journey, a couple of times I've found myself at churches.

Entertainingly, they haven't been churches of the faith in which I was raised - Catholicism - but rather some other species, variety, permutation, or sect that believes in Jesus and uses the Bible but conducts themselves quite differently than what I'm used to.

I don't particularly like what I'm used to, so I've enjoyed the religious tourism of the First Congregational Church's Easter organ concert, and most recently, the Wayfarer's Chapel.

As a wayfarer myself, on my way to hike down to a shipwreck in Palos Verdes, it seemed appropriate that I at least stop by.

Besides, I'd tried to visit once before, and was shut out because of a late Saturday afternoon wedding, on one of the sunniest days of the year.

I went back today, on one of the cloudiest.

But as the pastor - or reverend, or priest, or whatever he's called in Swedenborgianism, the religion celebrated there - reminded us, after all these wildfires that have ravaged our western canyons down to the Malibu beach, we could use the cool weather, and the rain.

I couldn't concentrate much on the readings from Psalms, or the Book of Revelations, or God knows from Edward Swedenborg himself, but I liked sitting in a pew in Lloyd Wright's "Glass Church"...

...surrounded by redwoods, which have just recently reached maturity, and being invited to take a moment, if I hadn't already this week, to listen to the sounds from the wilderness that were calling out to me.

I hadn't already this week.

And I did today.

And it was the best. The leaves rustling, the surf crashing, the rain drizzling, a bird chirping.

And then I realized, as I tiptoed out to get to my scheduled hike in time, that my church is outside, out in the open, not in some building somewhere.

When I cast my eyes heavenward, I want to see the sky - not a ceiling - even if that sky is full of clouds.

As churches go, the Wayfarer's Chapel is a good one, with glass all around - allowing you to look out at nature, even if it doesn't quite let nature in.

But I left the Glass Church satisfied with the notion that what I was supposed to do next was hike down a cliff to the beach and look for a shipwreck for a couple of hours.

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