October 26, 2009


The news media has compared it to the architectural wonders of the ancient pyramids and the Roman coliseums of old and a recent ESPN.com article called it "A Tribute to Excess".

It's an over the top dream of a wealthy business man at the cost of $1.2+ billion dollars. The new Dallas Cowboys Stadium wowed the sports world by setting the mind blowing standard for all future stadiums - it's absolutely beyond belief. The size - biggest ever! It seats 80,000+ and the ceiling and scoreboard dimensions like nothing else! My husband and I enjoy football (go AZ Cards!) and really enjoyed last months Cowboys opener game vs the New York Giants - great game in a beautiful venue. But after watching the game and enjoying the "grand premier" of the new addition to the Arlington, Texas skyline I recalled the story of another man who built a structure - a structure so out of the ordinary that to this day travelers still stop and experience it's "grandeur". Often passersby don't even notice it until they've driven past and feel compelled to make a u-turn and come back just to see and experience the creation of one mans vision and dreams.

It's a small structure which seats maybe a dozen or so (a far cry from 80,000+) and you won't hear the uproarious sounds of cheering sports fans within these crudely constructed walls. But what you will encounter is a hushed reverence upon entry - a place of peace. A place where people have quietly poured out their heart before God. A place where truly the Presence of the Lord can be felt. I love to visit this place and stop by every opportunity I can. Thousands of travelers on their way to the Grand Canyon on Highway 180 from Flagstaff zoom by there everyday not realizing that this little place may seem insignificant but is just as grand as The Canyon!

I've visited there in the Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter (when it's almost covered in snow) and love just sitting quietly inside on a bench facing the beautiful expanse of the San Fransico Peaks! It's just glorious! You ask, "What's the name of this place?".............."The Chapel of the Holy Dove" - a name so fitting, a name so perfect!

Upon entry you will immediately notice sitting atop the crudely formed alter is a box with a small sign "Place your prayer requests in the box - we will pray for you" - a church in Flagstaff oversees the Chapel and regularly lifts the precious prayer requests before the Lord. Also, laying on a small table next to the alter is a pencil and plain little notebook - nothing fancy or grandiose, just a simple spiral binder with a simple note encouraging passersby to write their prayers, thoughts and concerns. I must admit, every time I visit the chapel I take a moment to read their entries which usually almost completely fill the notebook. They're precious, straight from their heart! To me, the notebook is a written journal of hearts so moved by the Lord's Presence that their deepest response was to pour out their hurts, care and burdens upon Him - many of which are so dire and heart breaking that I've found myself immediately moved by The Holy Spirit to intercede on their behalf! Also, carved into the wooden a-frame walls are many declarations to the Lord proclaiming His Goodness, Love, Salvation and Blessings that are signed and dated - these passersby want their visit to be part of this building - forever remembered! They remind me of the carvings my husband and I have made over the years into trees with our initials encircled in a heart. It's what lovers do - make a declaration of their love. Those carved "love notes" in the walls of the chapel are love notes to Him - so amazing!

Let me share a little history of the Chapel of the Holy Dove.......the vision and dream of a man and what inspired him to build such a special place. I know it will bless you....

(Excerpts from handout available at the Chapel).......

The Chapel of the Holy Dove sits on a parcel of land originally part of a small ranch purchased by Watson M. Lacy, MD in 1960. He was the only physician at the Grand Canyon Hospital which he operated with his wife, Ruth. They came to this area for respite from the demands of the medical practice at the Canyon. The beauty of the Peaks affirmed the goodness and majesty of God. They wanted to give travelers the opportunity to share it. In the summer of 1961, with the help of his sons and some hired hands, the 41 year old Lacy, with no experience as a builder used explosives to create holes in the rock beneath the Chapel to secure the original a-shaped structure framing the San Francisco Peaks. The Chapel was completed in 1962.

The building was dedicated in memory of Dr. Lacy's brother, George, and nephew, Randy Lacy, who drowned in a boating accident in California in 1957. The original memorial plaque read "In Memory of George and Randy Lacy whose great love in life and great courage in death made known the Glory of God". Lacy's profound grief resulting from the loss propelled great soul searching which led to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Once an agnostic, he discovered "...the Way, the Truth and the Life" was to be found only in Jesus"........It is our prayer that all who visit the Chapel of the Holy Dove would experience God's love and power. Dr. Lacy died October 1991.

On March 8, 1999, the Chapel was destroyed by a transient's campfire but the stone walls remained.

Shortly thereafter, local volunteers from Flagstaff raised funds and rebuilt the chapel in honor of Dr. Lacy and his dream and reopened this wonderful place in April 2000.

So many things about the life and story of Dr. Lacy speak to my heart. It was the witness of his brother and nephew, even unto death, that touched and melted Dr. Lacy's agnostic heart and led him to Jesus. It was their Godly legacy that impacted and inspired him so deeply to build a simple chapel that years later is still impacting so many for the Glory of God! Lastly, the history of the chapel tells us that even a fire couldn't put an end to his Godly legacy........I love this part "but the stone walls remained". The "foundation" Dr. Lacy built his life upon is a remaining and lasting foundation - Jesus!

So, as I'm pondering, I sense my heart deeply stirring in prayer and ask that you join me...

Lord, I lay my life before you and ask that by your grace and power and the strength of the
Holy Spirit I would live each day altogether pleasing to your heart.
That my actions and accomplishments point others to
your goodness and saving Grace.
May my life be built upon the lasting foundation of
You and Your Word.
A foundation this is sure and remaining for the Glory of God.......
a legacy of Eternal Value!
In Jesus Mighty Name - amen!

May we ever be mindful that it matters not how much or how little we have amassed or accomplished or how simple or grandious the things we’ve “built” around us are – if it has no eternal value, it has no value all!

There is nothing more to say, but......A Godly legacy - Priceless!

Sweet Blessings!

(Photo Credit: Cowboys stadium - ESPN.com)
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Andrea said...

AMEN...we certainly can not take our earthly wealth with us. We desperately need to focus on eternal things.
Blessings, andrea

Meli n Pat said...

That was beautiful. I absolutely love little chapels and came across one like this in Jackson Hole, WY. It was just precious. Such a reminder of what is really important: not grand buildings made of man-made objects, but what we, as living stones can do to show our love to our Creator!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Jennifer at "Getting Down with Jesus" (link on my sidebar) just posted something about the "wayside chapel" in her neck of the woods. These posts are so timely and comparable, reminding me that great things ... God things ... are often wrapped in small packages. Jesus was never about the "show"... always about the intimate relationship that is most often birthed in moments of quiet pause and contemplation.

Thanks for sharing.


Saleslady371 said...

This is the first time I have heard of the Dove Chapel in Flag! What a wonderful story and I'm impressed with the prayer ministry that takes place on that patch of land! No doubt it was dedicated in prayer long ago to the work of the Lord. I think it is interesting that the firemen rebuilt the place, talk about anonymity in doing great things!


Debbie said...

I had no idea about this place and we owned a second home in Flagstaff for years! I'm definitely going to have to check this one out. Love the story behind it too. I appreciate your sharing it with us.


Edie said...

What a beautiful comparison Jackie. It really is the God things that are most important.

The difference in that new Cowboy Stadium here in Arlington and the pyramids is that I didn't have to pay for the pyramids. Wish I could say the same for the stadium. We should have built a chapel instead. :)

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