Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today's theme, in word: catacombs.
Not sure what "catacombs" are? (From
1.Usually, catacombs. an underground cemetery, esp. one consisting of tunnels and rooms with recesses dug out for coffins and tombs.
2.the Catacombs, the subterranean burial chambers of the early Christians in and near Rome, Italy. underground passageway, esp. one full of twists and turns.

The Holy Land of America

About midday I took a field trip to the Franciscan Monastery, in northeast Washington, D.C. It's called the Holy Land of America, because the grounds represent a smaller version of the Vatican in Rome.

The monastery took me by surprise. I've seen several different cathedrals - stateside and abroa
d - but this monastery had pretty extensive and well-kept grounds. A Rosary Portico surrounded the main church. There were gardens for St. Francis, Saint Anne. There was a tomb for Mary and a grotto of Gethsemane.

The coolest part of the tour was the walk through the underground catacombs, also a representation of Rome's (nearly 90) miles of tunnels. (Note: This monastery does not have 90 miles of catacombs. I'd have gotten lost!)

The Spiritual Catacombs
I revisited the idea of catacombs in a more abstract way this evening. National Community Church held a Catacombs Service - a reflective evening of worship followed by the baptism of 18 NCC members. My friend Jess was baptized - Pastor Mark submersed her in a pool right in the worship space at Ebenezer's Coffeehouse.

I'm not entirely sure why the evening was called 'Catacombs' but if we use the definition "a passageway full of twists and turns" then that's a pretty accurate depiction. Worship is an intimate experience - a time to reflect on where I've been and where I'm going to.
"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4)


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