I recently returned from a most memorable time away. Brian and I had the opportunity to visit a place I have longed to go since I was a young girl. We were in Spain, a land full of history, amazing food and breathtaking views. But what captured my imagination (and time) were the cathedrals.
So, what is a cathedral?
As you know, a church is a building used forChristian public worship. A cathedral (in the Roman Catholic tradition) is the central church in a district (or diocese) that is supervised by a bishop.
In every city we visited, in the centre of town was a cathedral. These are grand, centuries old, elaborate structure built to the glory of God with towers reaching high into the clouds, fantastic flying buttresses, high vaulted ceilings, and the stunning clerestory (a line of stain glass windows) letting magnificent light flow into the building.
Just approaching the cathedral was like opening up a book with the Old and New Testament stories sculpted into the walls. (Remember that most people couldn’t read and write in the Middle Ages, so art — in the form of painting and sculptures — was the way in which the church would “educate” people.) It was almost overwhelming to take it all in.
At each cathedral we visited I found myself needing to go in. To stop. To sit. To absorb it all and to pray. I prayed for each of you. I also found myself asking:
Who were the people who built this cathedral?
Did they just build it to put food on the table for their families or was it a labour of love?
Did they live to see it completed?
Did they worship in this building?
Did this building bring them closer to God?
I thought and prayed and pondered. There was is no doubt that the cathedrals we visited were beautiful, stunning even, but God does not live in the cathedrals.
We are the cathedrals that house God’s spirit.
Wherever we go, whatever we do, we bring the spirit of God and the love of Jesus with us. We are the cathedrals.
Cathedrals have always been places of sanctuary where people could go in times of trouble, whether personal, political, or whatever. If we are the cathedrals of God’s spirit, and I believe we are, then that means we are to be a safe place for others. We are to be a place where others can come to find rest and feel comforted.
We are the cathedrals. Beautiful, in every shape and size, (and some of us feeling centuries old) built to the Glory of God, for the Glory of God!