William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
In the many regions of the United States, there are extremely few buildings that would compete with the awesomeness of a great cathedral. Truly, most are large, bedecked with stained glass windows, a pipe organ, and other trappings of religious luxury. But, a cathedral, often a century or more in the erection, extends its unique architectural power to arrest attention. It has been my pleasure to visit such massive structures in the eastern part of the U. S., England, Mexico, Canada, etc. The painstaking details of construction, and the massiveness of it all consistently impressed me.
However, memories of a visit to the Washington D.C. Cathedral dominate my thinking. The great sanctuary would not hold nearly as many as smaller mega-church buildings that dot the country, but the great height of the structure and the echo of footsteps on marble flooring, the quaintness of the environment with pulpit to one side and massive pipe organ were a sight to experience. It was in such an environment as this that an aged woman spoke up from her group to inquire in a high-pitched voice that seemed to echo extra well, “Has anybody been saved here lately?” Well, had you been there, you could have heard a pin drop. But the guide quickly recovered and spoke about other things that he knew a little about.
My question to the guide of our group: “Who owns and operates this cathedral?” was ignored two different times. I suppose that was easy enough to do since I was not in front of the group, but anyone who knows me knows my voice is not weak. So, a little later, and closer to the guide, the question was posed again. It was fairly apparent that it was not in Catholic hands.
With great reluctance, the guide revealed that it was owned and operated by the Episcopal Church, but was quick to add that it was not built as an outreach facility of the Episcopal movement, but for important services including religeo/political ones. Understanding that I may have touched a nerve, the topic was not pursued further.
Here then is the apex of the manifestations of religious men far afield from the evangelical enterprise Jesus gave to His New Testament church, and the baptism, and teaching of the Word that is to be their constant, age-long activity. To Bible students, impressions of the cathedral were confined to the architectural structure, and not to what went on inside. .
As one reads the messages of Jesus to the churches in early Revelation, it should give pause to think that what happened to the Temple in Jerusalem, to other religious movements may be happening to the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ when adequate provisions for the saints to meet together to worship and study are razed for bigger and better to attract a lost world. Let the question then fall on spiritual ears: “Has anyone been saved here lately?” Is New Testament truth taught here?