There I was. Across the street. Looking at the greatest place on earth. I could hardly wait to cross Queens Boulevard. The site before me was extremely overwhelming. I lost track of all time and space (except for all the fast moving traffic keeping me from my destination) as I waited impatiently for my turn on the streets. We are talking about twelve lanes of traffic here.
What was I gazing my eyes on?
The back-story: Growing up in Queens, New York many, many years ago, I frequented the best restaurant in the world. It is the oldest franchise fast food establishment in this country. Yes, I am talking about those little square bundles of joy. I am talking about White Castle.
I know, I know. You either LOVE them or hate them. I am in the former category. On trips back to where my parents still live, I have my driver go to White Castle directly from the airport for a quick snack of the juicy, tasty, little square hamburgers. Gotta keep them away from my mother when I get to my parents’ house because of the onions. She’s allergic.
So, back to Queens Boulevard.
I was visiting my parents a few years ago (without my wife, otherwise this would not have happened). I decided to go to White Castle (probably for breakfast, that’s how good they are). I was standing on the far side across the twelve lanes looking at the castle building thinking, this is the greatest place on earth.
I finally got to my precious burger place and had “a few” burgers. (Only a few, honey.) Mmmm, great!
Not to be done, I followed the same routine the next day. Walking across on the green light I was thinking this is the greatest place on earth. And then of course pay dirt. I enjoyed a few of my delicious little friends.
Ok, third day in a row. Standing, waiting for the red light to change, looking ahead at the beautiful sight in front of me, thinking this is the greatest place on earth.
Then it dawned on me. I was making this secular place out to be something that it wasn’t. It was not the greatest place on earth. Something more heavenly, something much more closer to my life as a Christian, as a Catholic, was the greatest place on earth.
Church. Church is the greatest place on earth. I started to think (realize) about my faith in that being a child of God and a follower of Jesus Christ was the best thing that ever happened to me. And yes I could be at home and pray and meditate on God and His plan for me, but He has asked us to be in community with other Christians, and that place we meet is called a church. Traveling past churches reminds me of God’s presence in the world. The building does mean something.
For me it is too easy to forget about God in my daily life. I let the noise and distractions of life take over. I need to carve out at least part of the day to devote to time with God, praying and listening to His direction in life for me. That is most important. White Castle can wait. Heaven can’t.
“…do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink…your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides.” Luke 12: 29-31