Friday, November 6, 2009

A House is not a Home

I’ve stood at the entrance of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. It is an architectural wonder with beautiful statuary and priceless works of art. There are many altars within the cathedral adorned in gold and jewels. When I asked, “What is this place?” I was told, this is God’s house! As a child, I’ve camped alongside the King’s River and I’ve slept outdoors at the foot of a Giant Sequoia Redwood in Sequoia National Forest; looked up at the sky at night and saw more stars than I have ever seen in my entire life. When I asked, “What is this place?” I was told, this is God’s home!

In God’s house there is a golden chalice, used for the consecration and distribution of sacramental wine and it is kept on an altar, but in God’s home I’ve stood on the snow-covered-rim of Crater Lake and seen water so blue and so pure that I knew ...this is where God dips his cup.

This month your local PBS stations broadcasted a six part Ken Burns series titled: “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” The Buffalo Soldiers’ contributions to our National Parks were highlighted in the series and we are very thankful to Ken Burns for the recognition, but this series goes well beyond the contribution of any individual(s). There is a synergy to the efforts of the men and women highlighted in this series and it is their combined and sustained effort that has made our National Parks and the National Park Service what they are today.

If you haven’t seen this series check with you local PBS station or request it. If you can afford it, buy it. You will be a better person for the experience. This series took me back to my youth, traveling to our National Monuments and camping in our National Parks. FYI, just one percent of the visitors to Yosemite National Park are Black. That’s a Fact!

Sometimes we have to step out of God’s house and into God’s home to realize the awesome responsibility we have, not just to our families, our church families and to each other, but to the land and the water and to this planet as a whole; for this isn’t just God’s home, it’s our home too!