May 06, 2013

A Wayfarer's Visit to a Chapel (Updated)

[Last updated 2/4/19 10:44 PM PT — new photos added]

I feel a little lost right now.

In my wandering journey, a couple of times I've found myself at churches.

Not that I think I'm going to find my way through religion.

circa 2019

Entertainingly, they haven't been churches of the faith in which I was raised, Catholicism...

circa 2019

...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 some religious tourism.

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 the Wayfarer's Chapel.

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

I'd heard the bells of the Chapel Carillon, calling me and all other wayfarers.

circa 2019

I'd admired the architecture...

circa 2019

...and I'd witnessed the breathtaking view of Portuguese Bend.

circa 2019

But I hadn't yet stood inside the sanctuary, which is pretty much all skylight.

circa 2019

I hadn't knelt at the altar...

circa 2019

...or recited the Lord's Prayer.

So, I went back today, on one of the cloudiest days of the year.

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 that 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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