Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Ohio's smallest church

Inside Ohio's Smallest Church

On our way back from Parkersburg yesterday, I decided to show my friend a place that I have visited many times. It’s on a piece of property directly beside a road side rest on the Appalachian Highway. It is… Ohio’s Smallest Church.

Whoever owns the property built, well, a very small church. It’s left open all the time. No services are regularly held there, but thousands of travelers stop there to investigate, take pictures, and, hopefully, meditate or pray for a few moments before resuming their driving. People leave prayer requests, hastily scrawled on bits of paper, on a bulletin board in the back, or a container near the front. It’s just a neat thing to see.

Not completely unrelated, indulge my sharing of a passage that I’ve been mulling over.

To some observers, it would seem that there are as many different liturgies, as many different ways in which celebrants behave, as many different sung repertoires, as many different ways of arranging people physically in a space (or even of taking the collection!) as there are parishes. But this impression is partly erroneous. There is a certain looseness in the rites because, as we came to the end of the twentieth century, Western culture itself had been somewhat damaged. In fact if there has been a casual, even negligent, attitude, it is also true that today we can sense a desire for new forms of coherence between mind and body, among individuals and groups and between one group and another. There is no evidence that we could find the models that we need for Christian worship in what we rather simplistically term contemporary culture. It is rather in contemporary humanity, of which the media often presents only the most superficial aspects, that we must look for the roots of the rites. It is in their celebrating assemblies that Christians must search for the optimum expressions of the revealed mysteries. (Gelineau, Joseph, S.J. Liturgical Assembly Liturgical Song. p.54.)