Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 24, 2004


The scene of many stirring moments of my life


          Memory affords me a long string of significant sights I have witnessed with my own eyes. So many I hardly know where to begin.

          I first saw the snow-capped Alps from the window of an airliner. That was an incredible scene and it remains etched in my mind.

          Our family visited the Grand Canyon when our boys were small. Like most people we could hardly believe the size and beauty of that place.

          On a missions trip around the world, my wife and I stood before the Taj Mahal in India, so beautiful we wanted to gaze at it for more than a few minutes. We stood in the ruins of the Coliseum in Rome. We stood in the courtyard outside the Vatican, wondering why the Pope did not step out on the balcony to greet us.

          We spent a week in Japan, another in Korea, and two nights in the intriguing city of Kathmandu, Nepal.  The sight of “untouchable” children there and in India still troubles my soul. We saw the dead being loaded up on wagons on the streets of Calcutta and understood better why Mother Teresa devoted her life to helping the poor and the dying.

          Greece came alive for us when we saw the ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropolis. The worldwide influence of Greek architecture is well known but we appreciated it more after visiting Athens and Corinth. There, of course, we kept wondering if we were walking where once the Apostle Paul had walked.

          I admired the Tower of London and wished I could have stayed a week to learn more at Westminster Chapel. Visiting the places where John Wesley once preached stirred my soul.

          History never meant more than when we visited ancient Bethlehem or walked amid the ruins of the synagogues where Jesus once worshiped near the Sea of Galilee.

          My friend Al Krinke took me for a midnight ride on a dogsled in Alaska when I visited him in Nome. A friend took me up in small plane to fly over a nearby mountain range and see the frightened Caribou running for safety. I think Al called those the Saw-Toothed Mountains.

          Having traveled in every state in the union, including Hawaii, I have seen so many unforgettable places that are important in the history of America. My mind is filled with memories of times spent gazing at sights that millions have seen only in pictures or history books.

          Along the journey I have met few of the world’s dignitaries. No president ever invited us to tea in the White House. No governor ever called on me to come pray for him.

          Yet on many occasions I have had a personal audience with the most important person in the universe. I met him in a holy place called the sanctuary of that sacred building called a church.

          I met him there when my sins overwhelmed me and drove me to my knees. There he gave me the precious gift of forgiveness and boosted my hope for the future.

          I met him there when I began to question the purpose of my life, and I felt him call me to preach. I met him there when I pledged my life to my sweetheart Dean in holy matrimony.

          I met him there when our first child died. There I found comfort and healing for my sorrow. I met him there when in brokenness, I confessed my need for the Holy Spirit to take over my life, and he graciously filled me with the presence of his Spirit.

          I met him there when my children, and grandchildren, were baptized and consecrated to him. I met him there when my sister Laurida died, and when my father and mother slipped away from us. Every time he touched me and met my need, despite my unworthiness.

          I have met him there hundreds of times when praying for persons who were weary of emptiness and ready for God to cleanse and change their hearts.

          All of this to say, of all the places I have seen, none has meant more to me than the sanctuary where I met the Master, and where I continue to go to find the peace that he alone offers thirsty souls. + + + +