I’ve been doing the Bon Jody Temple Tour this NBA season, visiting LDS temples in the cities I visit while covering the Utah Jazz for my newspaper.
Since my last blog from Manhattan, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed checking out the temples in Philadelphia and Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ll write about those trips in the next day or two. For now, I want to share an experience about a detour I made while driving from the LDS temple in Cary, North Carolina, to Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon.
My son, who turns 12 Thursday, is a lacrosse player. One of his favorite teams is Duke. Coincidentally, that university is only about 15 minutes away from the route I was taking in the middle of North Carolina, so I decided to visit the campus to purchase some Blue Devils lax gear for his birthday.
As I was driving around trying to find a school bookstore, I turned onto a road called Chapel Drive. I quickly discovered why it got its name. As I began driving on that road, I gasped while seeing a glorious cathedral with a bell tower that soared over the grassy campus and rose above the top of the tall trees.
I illegally parked (sorry, Duke traffic cops), hopped out of my rental car and snapped a couple of quick photos. The ecumenical Christian chapel, which was constructed in 1935 when Duke was a religious university, was stunning. The rest of the buildings in that area were, too.
Moments later, I discovered that the University Store was located right next to the Duke Chapel. This time I legally parked (you’re welcome, Duke traffic cops), went and bought a couple of fun Duke lacrosse items for my sure-to-be-thrilled son (don’t be the one who ruins the surprise!) and then meandered over to this magnificent building (the chapel, not the bookstore).
The massive interior didn’t disappoint with intricate arches, a high-reaching ceiling, dark woodwork and pews, a beautiful large organ and dozens of gorgeous stained glass windows.
I took a moment to be a tourist and eventually made my way over to small chapel adjacent to the cavernous hall. A posted sign informed visitors that this spot was dedicated to those who wanted isolation and to pray. I took full advantage, planting myself on the cushioned seat on the back row and offering up a prayer as peaceful organ music played in the background. It was neat to pray in another religion’s church. Some differences in beliefs. Same God.
Right after I prayed, a neat thing happened. The sun broke through the clouds on the other side of the stained-glass window and shined on me. The timing was incredible. I suddenly felt extra warmth on the inside and outside.
I also took a moment to browse through the thick hymn book that was situated next to the Bible in the back of the seat in front of me. After flipping through a few pages, it was remarkable where I ended up.
It couldn’t have been more appropriate for the day after an ugly election divided the not-so United States.
O God, keep our whole country under your protection. Wipe out sin from this land, lift it up from the depth of sorrow, O Lord, our shining light. Save us from deep grief and misfortune, Lord of all nations. Bless us with your wisdom, so that the poor may not be oppressed and the rich may not be oppressors. Make this a nation having no ruler except God, a nation having no authority but that of Love. Amen.