Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Sign of the Times

Over the weekend my Bradley and I had a chance to get away from the busyness, spend some time together and reconnect. We drove about an hour south and spent a few days in downtown Cincinnati, staying at the historical Netherland Plaza (now known as the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.)

I have always adored downtown Cincinnati. The lights, the sounds, the beautiful architecture resting right on the Ohio River. We lived in inner city Cincy for a few years while Brad was in Bible college, and that was quite an experience! We had our second child while living in Cincinnati. We grew up a bit, if you will, while living far enough away from family to have to sort things out on our own. I have fond memories of our time there. Later, when we lived in Tennessee, we would travel up I-75 to visit family in Ohio. Every single time we hit that bend in the highway coming right up to the river, and the Cincinnati skyline would just illuminate the drive, aahhhh... it was always a sight to behold! So, when the opportunity to take this weekend away presented itself, and Cincinnati was one of the locations for the conference we were attending (more on that and our time away in another post), there was little question in my mind about where we should go.

The Netherland Plaza is a national historical landmark/historical hotel. It's like walking through history as you journey through the hotel and the adjoining Carew Tower (which is the second tallest building in Cincinnati and the very building the Empire State Building was modeled after.) The detail of the french art deco throughout is gorgeous - detailed wood and metal carving, the murals, the rare Brazilian rosewood walls, the use of marble and mirrors, even the nostalgia of the US Mail drop box that accompanies the elevator shafts - every inch was marvelous. It was hard not to imagine what this place was like when first built in 1930.

When we checked in, we were asked if we had a preference on the floor we stayed on. Thinking how cool it would be to overlook downtown or the river, I said the higher up the better! We ended up in a room on the top floor of the hotel - the 29th floor. SO AMAZING. The view was spectacular.

As much as I love the view driving up to and through downtown Cincinnati, viewing the city from so high in our room was just too awesome! Better yet though was the view that we had from the observation deck located on the 49th floor of the adjoining Carew Tower - you know, that second tallest building in Cincinnati. Truly just amazing.

While on a break from the conference events on our second day, I was sitting in our window just staring out at the city. I had my Bible in hand and opened up to where I've been "leisurely" reading through scripture, The Gospel of Mark. Having finished chapter 12 the day before, I opened up to the beginning of chapter 13 and read these words... As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.” Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” 

My heart broke. And I reread it again. And then my own thoughts and words caught up to me. Look at these magnificent buildings, at the impressive stones!

But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another.

We live on mission. Or, at least we attempt to live on mission anyway. Asking God to give us His eyes that we would see the lost and the hurting and the ones in need - the ones in need of Him. And I had thought of those when we first arrived. I had seen the people in all of their busyness and I had wondered about their hearts. But then, overcome by the splendor of the architecture of men, I let those very same people slip my mind. And then in this quiet time, a moment I had approached so casually, conviction struck my heart. Look at these magnificent buildings, at the impressive stones! 

But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another.

Now, this chapter in Mark is a warning from Jesus, a sign of the times to come. It's where many doctrinal beliefs on the events of end times come from. It's a chapter that we as Christ followers must take seriously.

Back to where I sat, looking down on the hustle of the city, eyes welled up with tears. God, don't let me forget, not for one second, where you brought me from. God, don't let me forget, not for one second, those who are still choosing to live outside of Your grace. God, don't let me forget, not for one second, those who are seeking you while shackled in the chains in this life. God, don't let me forget, not for one second, to live on mission.

It's hard sometimes to live on mission. When ministry is vocation and when life is overwhelming by the demands of church and home and work and school, sometimes we have to take a break. Brad and I, we needed this break. We needed the chance to get away, just the two of us, and take the time for the three of us (myself, my husband, and our God.) But taking a break from mission? No. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. 

God, don't let me forget, not for one second...

And so, while the weekend away was still largely focused on reconnecting with this precious gift of a husband that I have in my Bradley, I was convicted and reconnected with the maker of this marriage, the maker of this city, the maker of the very air we breathe. Mission minded, refocused. Ready to encounter Jesus in the faces of the strangers on the street. Looking for opportunities to serve them, to serve Him.

God, don't let me forget, not for one second... 


  1. I've never saw the PNC building from above, now I think it's one of the many items on my bucket list. Also love me some cincy :)

    1. I had no idea the observation deck existed until I was reading up on the Netherland Plaza prior to our trip. We lived down there for a few years and nobody ever told me! It's $2 a person, and you have to take two separate elevators AND a flight of stairs to get up to it - but it is so worth it. Enjoy!

    2. I feel like everyone keeps the good stuff a secret ;) I actually just saw your response, I'm new to google + and this whole blogger thing, maybe I'll figure it out soonish. I'm definitely going to have to check out the Netherlands plaza though.