We were walking back from a bookstore in NYC where the motto is “18 miles of books” when our daughter said “I have something special to show you! It’s less than a block from here.” We had already walked over 45 city blocks on this crisp day after Thanksgiving – what was a half block out of our way?
We took a right on 29th Street just off 5th Avenue and immediately knew this was something special. A beautiful little church sat there – away from crowds and chaos, beautiful and hallowed. We walked into a small sanctuary with old benches facing the cross and altar and beautiful windows and woodwork carvings all around, but there was more. Walking up to the front and taking a sharp left we found ourselves in a tiny chapel, set apart and empty. A prayer kneeler stood at the front with the Book of Common Prayer lying open. Stained glass windows reflected the light offering a glimpse of another world.
It was perfect. As close to perfect as we can find in this world.
Someone had told our daughter about it – said that it was the ideal place to come to sort out thoughts and ask for peace when the city feels too overwhelming, too distracting, too much. She was right.
It was difficult to remember that the Empire State Building was a block away, that millions of people lived and worked steps from this place, that here in this massive chaos that is New York City there is a place of such visible peace.
When life feels too overwhelming, too distracting, too much — it’s important to know where to go to sort it all out. When we need to catch a vision and live life above the noise and beyond the crowds, when we need a “slipping away in a boat on the Galilee” moment, where do we go? Can we find a place that offers respite and quiet? A sanctuary where we can hear God?
This is what I long for this season – to find places of quiet that remind me of what Advent is and how I am called to live. A little church around the corner to offer a glimpse of another world. A place and space set apart offering me the eternal even as the temporal calls so insistently.
Today and through this season, may you find your little church around the corner, your space and place of peace that offers you rest and comfort — an invitation to set aside what seems urgent and spend time on what is it important.
- At the Corner of Church and Work (thehighcalling.org)