Monday, March 7, 2011
DC Day Three and Four
Yesterday we started our day at Holy Eucharist at the National Cathedral. It was a cold, rainy day. The cathedral is gorgeous- Gothic architecture with incredible stained-glass that is painted over. Look at the image above- don't the faces look like something out of Beauty and the Beast? I was speaking with a staff member, and when I mentioned we were from Haiti, she asked if six of our kids would like to participate in the Episcopal service! The six nearest kids (some were in the gift shop or taking photos) were invited to carry elements such as wine, bread, and a basket of food up to the front table halfway through. In the photo you can see two of our kids carrying the basket! What an honor. The same staff lady told the Dean, and he gave us a welcome shout-out in the service.
After the service we took a tour of the stained glass, and we were interested to learn that one of the stained glass windows celebrating God creating the planets actually contains a piece of moon rock. We also saw the altar, ornate pulpit featuring carvings of the signing of the Magna Carta, and the rose windows. The photo of the stained glass faces is from a panel showing God loving and reconciling all races of mankind.
After church we were supposed to spend some time shopping in the Georgetown district. It was raining very hard- sheets of freezing water soaking our shoes. So Ben and I punted the Georgetown idea and just let the kids shop around our Metro station and hotel. There were many stores, but it's a pricy area, so it was disappointing that there wasn't much in the students' price range.
Today was a busy day! We started at Union Station, then the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and then a tour of the US Capitol. The Rotunda is amazing- I love the 360 degree painting of US history and the giant historical paintings. Many kids said the highlight was the statues- two from each state. Ben took pictures by Ronald Reagan and Sam Houston :) Next we walked by the Supreme Court on our way to lunch at a Tex-Mex place - hallelujah! I fear I led the young ones astray by committing the sin of gluttony... oh the jalapenos...
After lunch we toured the Library of Congress. It is hands down the most beautiful building I have ever been inside. We saw the main reading room (National Treasure anyone?), the gorgeous frescoes celebrating art, science, and literature, and the Gutenberg Bible- one of only three perfect copies in existence (the photo shows the kids looking in a case that pumps in special gases to preserve the pages).
Lastly we visited the Folger Shakespeare Library. We saw their replica of an Elizabethan theater, the reading room where scholars research early manuscripts, and a lovely stained glass window with Shakespearean characters (the one on the far left is Ophelia).
The kids are doing well. I am very impressed with their attitudes. Rookie mistake on my part- I planned too much for today. We were really dragging by the end, but not one student whined. I am loving the conversations that come up as you eat lunch, walk to the Metro, or wander at the back of a tour: why churches have different rules about who takes communion, whether or not rebuilding Haiti's National Palace should be a first priority financially, and explaining the concept of lobbying, to name a few.
Our evening meeting/worship time/devotional is going well, too. Last night a student shared about listening to your parents, and shared a really heartbreaking story of a time he almost didn't. Worship times aren't quite like I imagined- a bit more silly- but it is sweet to hear students requesting their favorite songs that they have loved learning in chapel this year.
Praise God- another good day!