One of my favorite places to visit is Washington, D.C. When I recall time spent in the city, I am provided with a host of great memories not only because it is rich with destinations, but we lived there for six months and were gifted with many opportunities to explore.
We arrived in D.C. just in time to watch Bill Clinton sworn in as our 42nd president.
Enthused by the energy of an inauguration and the chance to witness history in the making, we bundled our three young kids and joined the crowds, covering the city by foot.
Like all well-known destinations, there are people visiting from all over the world and the joy of seeing all that Washington has to offer is only improved by the people watching. Frankly, there is nothing better than stopping for a moment to watch people approach the Lincoln Memorial. To stand and look up at the sculpted likeness of Lincoln and read some of his finest words on the memorial walls is deep and profound for most everyone.
Energetic kids hopping and bopping up the steps invariably quieted down as they sensed an almost sacred and revered atmosphere.
I watched parents hold their kids and quietly read to them. I saw people wipe away a tear, prompted by sorrow, pride and awe. I watched them take photos and videos before leaving in complete silence.
The Washington National Cathedral provides a very similar experience. It is so large it seems to reach far into the sky. Ornate doors, amazing stained glass, candles, stone floors, side chapels, an ornate pulpit, and hallways containing the crypts of well-known Christians are all things that make this a magnificent place to think, pray, worship and explore.
People of all walks of life, with many differing religious preferences and traditions, ethnic backgrounds and nationalities walked beside us as we toured. There, too, a hush overcame many of the visitors.
Traditionalists best connect with God through ritual and symbol and this is the perfect destination if you count yourself as one of them.
It’s a place where you can observe how religious practices and rituals have the power to draw people together – providing a pathway for experiencing God, expressing your love, and growing a deepening relationship with Him.
Traditionalists are comforted knowing that religious texts used in worship and rituals regularly employed have been used throughout the centuries.
They also like knowing that words they are hearing are also being spoken by other believers around the world. There is beauty in unity for Traditionalists.
Traditionalists also treasure symbols, for they help them remember God’s promises as well as His expectations. Symbols like a cross or a candle, a painting or even a hymn help people preserve what writer Gary Thomas calls a “moral memory,” which is essential when making good life choices is hard and sacrificing.
Sacrifice is also welcomed by traditionalists. They gravitate toward celebrations like Lent when people worldwide willingly give up personal comforts for 40 days in an effort to identify with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and stay focused on what Christ did during that time in His ministry.
If you are a traditionalist in this modern world, embrace it with enthusiasm. There are beautiful places where we can rejoice and grow.
• Joan Bay Klope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org