Mind and soul

A December 2004 photo of Washington National Cathedral, built in knowledge inspired by faith

A December 2004 photo of our National Cathedral, built in knowledge and reverence

“Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster.” —  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the throngs that crowd the monuments and museums.  Its lovely architecture, stained glass and surrounding gardens offer a setting conducive to quiet contemplation, set apart from the hectic schedules and political battles of our nation’s capital.

Reverence is a quality that often seems in short supply.  In contemporary movies and on television, God’s name is spoken primarily as a conversational byword, an exclamation of surprise or emphasis.  But this disregard of spiritual sanctity does not bode well for our world.  While it’s true that many evils have been perpetrated under the banner of false or misguided religion, human progress throughout history has been inextricably and undeniably bound up with deeds of courage and compassion enacted by people who lived by faith in a God of wisdom, justice and love.

I believe it’s a mistake to see faith and reason as mutually exclusive.  Indeed, many of the greatest minds in history have described how their knowledge served only to deepen their faith.  I am grateful today for the knowledge and reverence of those whose sacrificial devotion has made the world a better place for all of us.  May we have the wisdom to rejoice that truth lives, despite all efforts to silence or destroy it.


  1. God morning, BeLOVE Child of God…But for God’s Love, Peace [wisdom]… remindes me all else is vanity. May the LORD’s Blessing be abundantly upon you & yours this day of LORD.

    • Thanks so much Kate, I was so happy to be able to go to church this morning with my sister who is visiting to take care of things at home while Jeff is in the hospital. Hope you will have a week full of blessings. I appreciate your visits here!

  2. What a beautiful thought. AMEN I say to that.

    • Thank you Amy, “[the] old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.” (Sandburg)

  3. Sheila

    Julia, your words made me long to visit the Washington National Cathedral, again. So many years later, I feel as though I would view it so differently, with a different mind and soul. I am so glad that you could be in church today. I thought of Jeff this evening as I looked out at the ocean and my prayer was for renewed strength, knowing that all things are possible. I so hope a restful night awaits you, too. Sheila

    • Sheila, we had a fairly restful night; good thing too, because there was emergency surgery this morning! Some abdominal adhesions had occurred and were causing problems, but the surgeons made the correct diagnosis early enough to prevent far worse complications. We’re hoping the recovery period will be uneventful from here on in, but it will increase his overall time in the hospital. We’re thankful, though, that they kept a close eye on him and took care of the problem in a timely way. Thanks for the continued prayers!


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