St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC has been called the Church of the Presidents. Every sitting president has attended this church at least once since it was built in 1816, starting with James Madison. With the exception of Richard Nixon, every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has attended spiritual services there on Inauguration Day. On June 1, 2020 President Donald Trump made the news when he took his walk to the church to hold up the bible.
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, he regularly attended St. John’s Church. Of course, crowds of tourists and others came just to see the President there.
One Saturday the rector’s phone rang and a lady asked, “Do you expect the President to be in church tomorrow?”
Promptly and thoughtfully, the rector replied, “I cannot promise this, but I can promise that God will be here, and this should be the incentive for quite a large crowd to attend.”
The presence of God ought to be enough to bring almost anybody to church! Yes, the omnipresent God is everywhere. But when his people meet in the worship of God, somehow God is uniquely there. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
There seems to be a special and singular kind of way in which God is present when his people meet. And when God’s people gather, it is they who are present in a special and singular kind of way as well.
You and I look forward to the day when we can once again fill our churches, lift our voices and give praise, glory and worship to God as one people. We may not have a President Roosevelt in church with us, but we have the Father of us all with us.
What are three things that you miss about not being able to go to a church filled with worshippers?
I invite you to read how I think Jesus would gather a “church” today as his early disciples did. Please check out my new novel: THE GATHERING. ENJOY!!