January 26, 2017

Fairyland, a children’s amusement park on the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt, opened in 1950, five years before Walt Disney who was inspired by Fairyland opened Disneyland in 1955. In its years of operation Fairyland has been a safe and happy place for generations of children and their families.

Since my oldest grandsons are now old enough to enjoy it, our family has rediscovered Fairyland. Karen and I didn’t take our kids there all that frequently and I am left to wonder why, for it is a delightful place for families to spend time together.

It also is a very interesting place. Did you know that it has a chapel? The Chapel of Peace is a child-sized New England looking church. It has child-sized pews. It has a child-sized organ. It serves many functions in the life of the park. For instance, it is the place where Santa greets his visitors in the days before Christmas.

On the walls of the chapel are the words of four passages of Scripture, all from the Old Testament. I do not know who chose them or how they were chosen, but they provide the framework for a meaningful spiritual life. If we did a good job of teaching these verses to our children, and living by them ourselves, the world would most certainly be a better place.

The verses are:

  • Leviticus 10:18 – Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
  • Job 37:14 – Consider the works of the Lord.
  • Psalm 122:1 – Let us go unto the House of the Lord.

I guess it’s a little late for New Year’s Resolutions but what if we were to keep these verses before us in the year ahead? Maybe they would help us remember not to make our faith more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe they would remind us that we teach our children in our every waking moment by the way we treat them and the way we live our lives. Maybe they would make us grateful for all the churches and chapels that have shaped our lives. In many ways, we never stop being the products of pews where we sat as children. I find this to be true especially in times that are politically demanding, emotionally demanding and spiritually demanding.

Peace,

Jim H.

P.S. – We just got word from Mark Graham that Frances Graham passed away on Tuesday morning, January 24. Service plans will be announced at a later date. We are grateful for Frances, Harry and Mark and what they have meant to our congregation.