Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Remembering my Baptist roots

All around us there are signs of spring - warmer temps, with plants budding out and flowering.  Our property management company's yard service even had to mow the grass last weekend.  The daffodils below were lined up like pretty maids all in a row in our backyard.

Hope springs eternal on many fronts.  The teen had excellent grades in the nine weeks that just ended, and we are so pleased she has become adjusted to the demands of her third high school in three years.  This is welcome news as she prepares for the SAT in May and ACT in June.  She has already started looking at colleges... and sororities.  Before we know it, she'll be starting a new chapter in her life.  

In the past five days, I've toured two of the must-see cathedrals listed in a typical English travel guide.  On Friday, I drove with a friend to Winchester for a tour.  The guides weren't terribly informative, but the cathedral was beautiful.  

The vaulting in the ceiling was breathtaking.  And we were surprised to discover that author Jane Austen is buried in the floor of a side aisle.  

Yesterday we took the train to St. Albans to see the cathedral.  It wasn't as pretty as most of the other cathedrals I've toured, but it was interesting.

The exterior shot of the south side of the cathedral, seen below, shows you why it's so different.  The wall's materials and windows are just a hodge podge.  After initial construction in the 11th century, the nave was extended.  Then part of the south wall fell and thus had to be rebuilt.  You expect everything in cathedrals to be very symmetrical, but this one just doesn't fit the bill.  However, I think all of the differences and seeming flaws make it a noteworthy cathedral to visit.  It's not knock-your-socks-off beautiful, but it certainly is intriguing.  And the Lord doesn't care whether we're worshiping in a crystal cathedral, one covered in marble and gold leaf, or a humble little pine sanctuary in the middle of the woods.

I love the picture below that I took of the exterior of Winchester cathedral.  Families are gathered on the lawns around it, soaking up the springtime sun.  If you look carefully, you can see a raised tomb just to the right of the tree.  Everywhere you look at this time of year, you see the hand of God in the eternal circle of life, death and rebirth.  In this week leading up to Easter Sunday, I can't help but recall the final words in the chorus of one of my favorite old Baptist hymns.  He arose, He arose, hallelujah Christ arose.

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