Church in the Woods


On my recent trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I visited Thorncrown Chapel, a beautiful work of architecture tucked in the woods. When you enter the space, a greeter asks you to sit down in the pews and quietly listen to music and take pictures.

The posture of siting down in the structure allows you to look up at the soaring ceiling of wood beams crisscrossing one another. It also helps you to look to your right and your left to see the trees and foliage directly outside the windows on each side. Your eyes turn toward the side lights shaped into a cross.

Thorncrown inside

The chapel reinforces the fact that God is in nature and his beauty is seen in every plant and creature we see. The chapel reminds us, too, that we are part of God’s creation, formed in his image to tend and care for the earth. Tending and caring for the earth is an act of worship, and one we should not take lightly. We should honor the earth and celebrate the joy it brings to us. We should sing praises as we work to preserve the world around us, and we should take the time to reflect on and marvel at his handiwork.

But as the chapel architecture reminds us, it is the cross of Christ that should crisscross every angle that we view of the earth around us. It is that cross that makes all of life beautiful beyond measure.

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