On a cool, rainy DC morning, I climbed the underground carport steps toward the view of the vaulted face of the Washington National Cathedral, the national Christian church for the United States. Formally known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, the Episcopalian church offers a number of denominational services of Christian faith for locals and visitors, alike.
"Grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people, conceived by our founders to serve as a great church for national purposes." - Cathedral.orgSurrounded by northern DC neighborhoods and restaurants, the building and property is a masterpiece in sculpture and architecture. The greater church, meditation garden and outbuildings compliment each other well.
The main sanctuary's interior is actually a congregation of separate chapels meant to create individual spaces for different spiritual services and attendee needs. When services are not in session, visitors are welcome to walk the interior as tourists, admire the architecture and otherwise take photos.
Near the gift shop is a small lego venture where builders are imitating the entire cathedral in lego, though it seems they had only begun the process during my visit.
I enjoyed the venue, but I have to admit something that struck me as I walked through the building. Throughout the building are small engraved honors to various donors to the building of the cathedral -- begun in 1907 and officially finished in 1990. Many people gave their money and time to the building of this magnificent building, but I wondered on the state of the souls of these men and women. I have nothing against the building of a fine building, even one meant to serve faith, but I hope people don't believe that fancier buildings make fancier souls.
I've met many who admire the buildings but don't much spend time pondering life's more eternal questions merely from such beautifully carved stone. I hope those who gave of their time and money for the construction of the cathedral spent as much time devoting themselves to those in need across the DC area than to the building of a church more useful as a tourist destination than a house of healing. That said, I know nothing personally about these people, so I say nothing specific to their character, only a hope that their treasure building went more to actual people than the idea of good works.
Overall, experience was an early afternoon well spent touring a magnificent work of art and dedication, one I recommend to anyone with an eye for stone and an ear for history.