doorway to heaven
The Hour of Power, sometimes – on slow Sunday mornings – you might zap by and back to it. Most likely not out of appreciation of the way the gospel is brought to you, but in awe of the showbiz element, something Americans also successfully use to wrap their divine messages into.
The religious version of glamour and glitter is brought to you from quite a unique location in the city of angels: LA. Here, just a few hundred meters from the other variation of opium for the people, Disneyland, the Crystal Cathedral rises and shines towards heaven.
A visit to this glass altar piece of contemporary architecture starts at a huge parking lot. From here you simply follow the signs and your burning curiosity. Admission, at least to the cathedral is free. Admission to heaven might come a little less cheap, looking down at the path from the parking lot to the church: it is paved with stepping stones that read holy scripture, accompanied by a family name. Are these tickets to heaven or the fulfillment of a desire to become immortal and forever have people walking over your name and your favorite lines from the holy book?
The path is as long as the pockets of the church are deep, so it feels like eternity before you complete the voyage from your holy cow to the holy building. But it is worth the effort, since the Crystal Cathedral is yet another pearl on the architectural necklace LA wears around its freeway covered neck. And although the Crystal Cathedral is no architectural masterpiece like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Getty Museum or LAX, the function of the building combined with the form and symbolism makes it very interesting.
But let’s get back on track. Once you leave the ‘path of gifts’, you are met by chilling images of Moses destroying a giant eagle and lifelike images of what must be the infant Jesus, all silver looking. And there is more from where baby Jesus comes from. Thanks to a continuous stream of donations, the cathedral is almost flooded in greenbacks, a flood it tries to stop by trying to turn water into statues and burning bushes.
The fact that the burning bush does not talk is made up for by the very friendly staff inside the crystal cathedral. When you enter the huge building, you’ll feel like entering a studio. Everywhere you look you’ll find cameras, microphones and lamps. This is God’s stage, a giant set from where hundreds of millions of people worldwide are guided weekly in their quest for the meaning of life.
When you lift up your eyes and look to the heavens, you’ll see a giant organ at the top of the atrium. It looks like a choir of angels, bathing in the continuously shifting light that falls through the countless panels of the glass roof. The symbolism of this is not difficult to imagine and its a handsome and impressive piece of design.
When you are busy admiring the interior, you might be disturbed by one of the volunteers roaming the place. After the inevitable ‘Hi, how are you?!’, you most certainly will be told that the door in front of you is ‘the biggest door in the world!’, something that most likely won’t surprise you at this stage of your visit and in case it is open, a great doorway to leave the Crystal Cathedral through smiling.
The Crystal Cathedral
12921 S. Lewis St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840