An image can hold so much meaning….it can capture the heart and even inspire a nation.
This week as I step up to continue the Compadre’s Blog Tour “The Glory of the Son” I want to share with you a little bit of the story of our nation’s capitol dome.
A story that began in 1850 by southern Senator Jefferson Davis when he introduced an appropriation bill of one million dollars to enlarge the capitol building….
This project, greatly needed and long over due, was meant to resolve the space issues that a growing legislative branch now including some 35 states, had inevitably produced. This loosely held together body, who struggled to answer the call “in order to form a more perfect union” and who was barreling towards Civil War.
In 1855, Thomas U. Walter’s larger “wedding cake” dome design was adopted to pull together these two vastly inharmonious arms that extended from the north to the south. His vision of greater harmony became Lincoln’s symbol and source of strength.
And so in this case, harmony was not just a perfect blending of all elements, but it was also the sounding of a greater vision that included adding new notes to the chord. These new sounds that created a clash of ideology, through the process of reaching out… pulled the music forward as it searched for more new notes to join the music. The process of searching for new notes provided forward motion to carry on….the harmony breaths in…..listens….. and exhales…and in the process the harmony progresses and grows. It was in the tension of the dissonance that the music of our country became alive…found a greater strength.
Picture then if you will, that fine day of December 2nd 1863, when the statue of freedom was pulled into place to crown the capitol dome, and a 35 gun salute was heard from the various forts around the city…one shot for each state…even for those that had seceded from the Union…amazing!
This building of the capitol dome, during civil war, by slave labor and immigrant craftsmen, became a symbol of “the tenacity of Lincoln’s government” and a “a ray of glory” that inspired a nation to re-invent itself into forming a more “United States” of America.
So images can be a powerful tool of inspiration in the right hands…
Imagine now Jesus, fresh from a conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well where he taught:
“.. a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on the mountain nor in Jerusalem. A time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23
He first gives her hope, then he turns to his disciples and challenges:
“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest, even now the reaper draws his wages even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.” John 4: 35-36
Jesus is calling us, I believe, to have a greater vision of harmony…one that reaches out with new eyes and imagines greater things.
Hear the inspiration in Lincoln’s words “…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain….” as we pray
Dear Lord, As we gather each week around your table, let us long for a more perfect union, one that has a vision of greater harmony….and let us resolve that your Son shall not have died in vain.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts.
Blessings and Peace for your individual ministries.
This week’s music is People’s House from the soundtrack to the film Lincoln
P.S. I have only just begun to scrape the surface of this topic that is so brilliantly written about in Guy Gugliotta’s book called Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War. Also, I thought it was very interesting to learn that the capitol was for many years used to regularly house ecumenical church services. Preachers from all Protestant denominations at first and later Priest from the Roman Catholic church, facilitated worship of “One Nation under God” in the rotunda under the dome and so a fitting symbol for our discussion:))