Next to the National Cathedral, I believe Christ Church Alexandria may be the most photographed church in the country. During tourist season, we can have as many as 2,000 people move in and out of the church in a week. As I come and go, there isn’t a time when I don’t see someone holding a camera in the direction of our sanctuary.

During the months of April and May, the garden breaks into a colorful glory that is nearly unmatched in our city. The churchyard is a place where many come just to sit, enjoy the colors of the garden, pray, have lunch during work, walk their pets, or let their children climb on the gravestones like jungle gyms. It is a gathering spot and a sacred oasis set apart from our noisy city.

It is an irony to remember from the Bible that “even in the midst of life, we are in death.” If you sit in a churchyard, you are aware that you are sitting among tombs, yet life is bursting all around you in landscape and people coming to and leaving the variety of programs and worship here at the church.

Those who tend to our garden, the so-called “stewards of the dirt,” know very well that dirt comes from what is dead, and yet, implanted life abounds. Unknown to many is that this garden is a spiritual oasis to many who never sit in a pew. It is their church. And who knows what acts of courage and charity are born into this garden and taken into the world as a form of God’s love.