You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Religious Bucket List in Chicago, Part 2: First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple

Three days after our Longest Night service, my Woman and I found ourselves at the Chicago Temple for a Sunday service at First United Methodist Church. The building was smack downtown, right across from a Christmas market in Daley Plaza. My Woman had never been to a Methodist church before, but I felt right at home-- it reminded me of both my Presbyterian roots and my Episcopalian/Anglican future. Justly so-- Charles Wesley, as my former chaplain teased Methodists, lived and died an Anglican.

My Woman and I were pleased to note that we sang multiple Charles Wesley hymns. And, we joked, we think the pastor mentioned Charles Wesley more than God. (Just as well we Anglicans don't have a charismatic founder like that-- no one would dream of doing that with Henry VIII!)

Afterwards, we took a  tour of the church. We were primarily interested in seeing the Sky Chapel-- a chapel on the top floor of what was once the tallest building in all Chicago and what is still the highest place of worship in the city. It's definitely beautiful and worth a look!

One thing that moved me in particular was the frequently emphasized motif of comparing Chicago with the new Jerusalem. Two altars -- one on the ground floor and one in the sky chapel-- had carvings of Jesus looking out over Jerusalem and Chicago respectively. The stained glass windows featured not only your typical Christian images of events in the Bible and your (I presume) typical Methodist images of the Wesley brothers, but also an image of Chicago. The images gave me a glimpse into what pioneers and settlers must have thought as the wound their way out west-- that they were on a pilgrimage to the New Jerusalem-- and aren't we all?


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