Today at lunch time I took Katherine (8) and Elias (5) our on a little field trip. We visited 3 local church buildings - all of which are very different from what they are used to: St. Mary's (Catholic), First United Methodist, and First Lutheran. I wanted to expose them to these different church environments to talk about art, church, tradition and Jesus. It was a good field trip. I only had my iPhone, and with it I only grabbed a few shots.
First up was St. Mary's - a beautiful building. The kids loved the stained glass windows and we talked about the biblical stories depicted in each of the windows. They thought the kneelers were very cool and wanted to know why we didn't have them at our church. Elias thought the holy water was neat, and we talked about how they use it as a reminder of baptism. The sanctuary gave a feeling of transcendence/holiness.
Then we walked a block over to the Methodist building. Here the sanctuary was round, the pews were curved and the atmosphere suggested community. The kids liked these pews better - even though kneelers were absent, and Katherine noted the music must be better here because of the piano and pipe organ. On exiting through the main doors you are confronted with this sign...
Dig it. I don't know their theology, but I dig that the last thing they want their people thinking about when leaving the gathering is the mission of God.
Then we walked around the corner, past the library to the Lutheran church. What Katherine liked the most about this sanctuary, which was similar to St. Mary's in many ways, was in how it differed from St. Mary's. The huge, dark brown cross hanging in the front did not have a carving of Jesus still hanging on it. The cross was empty, and beneath it was a red lantern lit with a candle. She said she thought the lantern was there to remind us of the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins.
We talked about what a church really is, why we follow some traditions and not others, Jesus and his mission. It was the best part of my day.