Pause, Rest, and Worship · 21 November 2015
The Wayside Chapel looks like a miniature church, steeple and all. It sits beside Highway 2 on the Monroe side of Sultan, Washington. Every time I drive by it, I think, “I ought to stop there.” I was glad when I finally did, even if it was not a burning bush type moment.
There is a large sign near the chapel inviting passersby to “pause, rest, and worship.” It also warns that there are no facilities. I did not stop because I wanted to pause, rest, or worship, nor did I need to use the facilities (which were not present, of course). I just wanted to take some pictures and satisfy my curiosity. Still, I found myself pausing, resting, and worshiping.
The Wayside Chapel is tiny (smaller than many sheds). There are four tiny pews inside that could fit a couple small people each. You can see the fields of a farm out the windows and that is all, a peaceful sea of green. Of course, if a preacher was preaching, he might scold or at least chide that a person was looking at the scenery instead of toward the front. Even if he had to admit that it was scenic and peaceful.
That hypothetical preacher would have a small flock indeed meeting in that tiny chapel. It is so small that if a revival was held there, the eight or so people who could fit in those miniature pews would not all be able to kneel at the front in a come to Jesus moment. But however many people showed up, they could certainly come and find rest. And they could find peace. I know I did.
As I sat, took pictures, and soaked up the inside of the little chapel, I was unaware of the world outside. Even though the door was ajar because it could not latch shut, I did not hear the vehicles pass by on the busy highway. I would not have guessed that a roadside building could be so peaceful.
Then again, I am certain the peace did not come from the building itself. After all, a building is not the church, as our pastor is fond of saying. The people who made the miniature building understood that and certainly had their hearts in the right place. They understood that any who seek for God will find Him. Whether they seek at home, in a church building, in the open field, or even in a tiny roadside chapel, God is there. We just need to seek and we will find.
The Wayside Chapel also has a simple pulpit in front of the pews as if it is waiting for a preacher and his flock to come in at any time. There is a cross hanging on the wall behind the pulpit and a cross hanging on the front of the pulpit itself. The cross on the pulpit has one of my favorite Bible verses inscribed on it. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) As I took pictures and sat in the pews, I realized where the peace I felt comes from. Not from the building or from feeling safe inside, but simply from knowing where my heart is. The little building with all its trappings helped to remind me of the source of my inner peace. And in that place I worshiped the God who knows no bounds.
The last thing I noticed was a little notepad on the pulpit. It was a little guest book of sorts where people wrote notes. I suppose there were prayers and thanksgiving. I did not read any of them, but I wrote a little thank you to the people who built the place. Their invitation and their Wayside Chapel were a welcome stop on any traveler’s journey. Regardless of how close to home it is.
I have traveled by the miniature church many times in my life. I have wondered for years what I might find inside. Even though I did not really intend to pause, rest, and worship, I found that it was easy to do so in that little place of peace. If you are like me and have been drawn to stop someplace, but never did, maybe you ought to do so. Especially, if you are driving down Highway 2 outside Sultan, Washington and see the little Wayside Chapel. Remember that they do not have facilities, but go ahead and take the time to pause, rest, and worship.
© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi
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