“Holy” seems an abstract term until in the middle of a hectic week and a Manhattan neighborhood I stumble upon a church on Fifth Avenue. It’s a historic landmark, but there is a small service going on as I open the doors. Once past the foyer a calm fills the air–I don’t think I’ve experienced what it means to “come into the presence of God” for a long time. A central mural overawes me with its size and the splendor of the painting. The setting sun comes through the stained glass windows as a warm yellow glow. On the far right, a pastor reads a passage aloud to a small group of worshippers: “And the Lord Jesus…”
Immediately from the words and the quiet building I sense something different, something reassuring and something greater than everything else in our finite world. It’s in these environments that I understand exactly why He deserves our respect. Perfection outside of our comprehension exists — an unattainable holiness. Modern churches often do not evoke this sense of reverence for God. Rather, the stage and chairs seem too common and everyone acts as they would in any other conference room.In addition, today’s sanctuaries are usually locked, except on Sundays. I wish all churches were like this one and offered serene sanctuaries anyone can walk into during the day. Especially as life overwhelms us with so much to see, do, instagram and ingest, finding pockets of complete silence and respect for something greater than ourselves is refreshing.
Outside, posters advertise for special Easter Music, while a smaller sign in purple with white lettering reads: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”