The Little Chapel That Stood

Sunday, October 19, 2008

St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City serves as a historic landmark and a symbol of America’s unwavering spirit. Built in 1766, St. Paul’s Chapel is Manhattan’s oldest public building in continuous use. The Revolutionary War brought violence to New York in September 1776 when the city was in flames. Although a fourth of the city’s buildings were destroyed when the fire was fueled by great winds, St. Paul’s survived.

In 1789 George Washington was inaugurated in our first capital, New York City. After being sworn in at Federal Hall, he walked a few blocks and worshipped at St. Paul’s Chapel.

Located directly across the street from the site of the World Trade Center, the chapel survived the greatest tragedy of its history on September 11, 2001. When terrorists attacked the Trade Center, St. Paul’s should have been destroyed or at least severely damaged. Instead, not even a window was broken as a large sycamore tree absorbed the impact of the debris. The church is now known as “The Little Chapel That Stood.”

On many visits to Ground Zero as I have looked back and forth between St. Paul’s Chapel and the site of Twin Towers, I am always amazed. You see everything else surrounding the towers experienced devastation, yet the church not only survived but also thrived to be host of an extraordinary eight-month volunteer relief effort. St. Paul’s became the site where Ground Zero relief workers went for food and rest. Volunteers served at the church around the clock. Hundreds of volunteers provided food, prayers, and encouragement to the weary crews.

Seven years later, “The Little Chapel That Stood” continues to remember the fallen through its “Unwavering Spirit” exhibit of memorabilia from the rescue effort. At 12:30 p.m. each day the church holds a “Pray for Peace” service commemorating those whose lives were lost on 9/11. Click on the link below to read St. Paul’s “Prayers for Peace” program, which includes peace prayers from 12 major religions.

What lessons can we learn from the 100-year-old sycamore tree that protected the chapel? That old tree had roots deep enough and strong enough to help a little chapel withstand a violent terrorist attack. Roots. As Christians, we find our roots in Jesus Christ. How deep are our spiritual roots? Are we rooted in scripture and prayer? Are our spiritual roots strong enough to withstand attacks on our faith?

What lessons can we learn from “The Little Chapel That Stood?” The church, surrounded by debris, opened its doors at a time of great need and provided a refuge for the weary. Its members recognized an opportunity to show love and acted on it. Who in our world is hurting and needs for us to provide spiritual food, prayers, and encouragement? Are we willing to act when opportunities arise?

This week let’s strengthen our roots.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1


Julie Coleman said...

Hi Cathy:
I noticed that you have subscribed to my blog. Thanks so much for posting a link to my site on yours! I also send out a weekly devotional newsletter (on Tuesdays)that I would love to send you. If you go to my website and enter your email address, I will be sure to add you to the list.

It's great to read someone else dedicated to helping people walk with the Lord. God bless you in your ministry!

Sincerely, Julie Coleman

GACA said...

Another analogy between Christians and the sycamore tree is that trees bend in the wind before they break. We need to learn to lean without breaking. Our heavenly Father supports us when we need to lean.


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