A Walk to Remind Us of Our Christian Heritage – The Capitol Part 2

We enter the rotunda of the Capitol. One of the great moments in American History paintings is of Reverend John Robinson’s prayer meeting aboard the Mayflower before the ship sailed for America. Another is De Soto and the discovery of the Mississippi River with a monk beside him in prayer placing a crucifix in the ground. And there are others such as Columbus and the baptism of Pocahontas. In the chapel is a stained glass window depicting George Washington in prayer with the inscription of in God We Trust above it. The Christian influences are all about. Our Founders were certain about their Divine Guidance and the need for it.

So when the President stands in the Chamber to deliver the State of the Union address, above and just behind the President are the words, In God We Trust. They are there as a reminder to every Senator, Representative, and all the others present. Above the gallery door is a relief statue of Moses. The east entrance to the Senate Chamber has the Latin inscription meaning, God has favored our understanding. And you will find more times when we reiterate In God We Trust.

As we exit the grand edifice that graces the east end of the capital mall, we stop a moment on the steps.  And it is here the President places a hand on the Bible, the Christian Bible, the Bible of our God in whom we place our trust, and pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and to serve this nation.

We are what we are: we are a nation that was founded to attain religious freedom. a nation that recognized the role of Divine Guidance in its creation, and the need to trust in that Divine Guidance.

We walk toward the White House, where we started our walk together. When we reach the White House, the people’s house, our footprints will have made a Christian cross.

The Iris and the Hawk – Lessons from Nature

My walk to the end of the driveway always is amazing. The lessons abound with every step. The mysteries of faith pop out at me. Or perhaps they aren’t so mysterious. Perhaps they are so simple we just don’t bother with them.

As I looked across the valley, the foggy sky obscured the twin peaks and the hills they occupy. My first lesson on faith. Even though I could not see them, I knew that they were there. I knew that the houses on the hills that I see on those hills every clear morning were still there. I had faith.

I looked for the iris blossom that was partially open yesterday. I knew that it would be open more today. That’s what flowers do unless eaten by bugs or otherwise destroyed. They are on a mission to grow and become what they were meant to be. I knew there wouldn’t be a daffodil or a rose on an iris plant. I have faith in that process. Sure enough. When I came to the plant in question, it had two fully opened blooms. The path of the iris is a model of faith expressed.

There was another lesson on the way. About halfway down the driveway was a fully-opened iris blossom even bigger than those I had so diligently been watching. There it stood–a single gorgeous, large blossom that reminded me of the great diversity of growth and development within one species. Such an obvious encounter should help me understand the human conditions surrounding the everlasting premise that the Creator is the ultimate purveyor of faith in the created–whether iris or person.

As I sat to ponder the lessons of faith I had experienced on my walk to the end of the driveway, I was treated to a special scene. I have watched the red-tailed hawks swoop to the earth to catch their prey with deadly accuracy. I have watched them soar to heights against a clear blue sky or duck behind a low-hanging cloud. When they just glide across the sky they are especially fascinating and beautiful. Just a little tip of a wing or the tail and the change of direction or altitude is accomplished. Amazing birds, these red-tailed hawks.

But about the treat. As I was piecing together my lesson on faith from the walk, a red-tailed hawk flew into the tall palm nearest me. Wow!! Of course. It had to have a home somewhere. Now I felt I had a different relationship with one hawk. I knew where it lived. As I sat with a big smile on my face and gratitude for the special moment, the hawk flew away and pursued its diving and soaring and doing what hawks do. It too, was being fully faithful to its place in the universal patterns of being a red-tailed hawk.

As I continued my walk, I knew that what the fog obscured in the west, or east, or south would be there when it cleared. Surely I can have as much faith as the bird that sings before the dawn breaks because it knows that the dawn is coming. By the time I continued around the house and back to the end of the driveway, I could see the outlines of the twin peaks. In just another few minutes, the hills and the peaks were clearly visible, outlined by the fleecy white clouds and the blue sky behind them.

Thank you nature. And special thanks to the iris and the red-tailed hawk. Surely I can take the timelessness of their lessons and be grateful that they are present to teach me. Yes, I will use the talents that I have been given to me to make a difference, to serve and grow. Almost 98 years of living should be a good place for new beginnings. New measures of faith should grow well in a soil of gratitude, love, curiosity, and joy.