I am back from my trip with my family and beginning my daily blog again. On our trip to Great Brittan, France and Italy I visited and spent time in several cathedrals and famous churches. St. Paul and Westminster Abbey in London; Bath Abby in Bath; Notre Dame, Sacre Coure, and St. Chappelle in Paris; and the Doumo and Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. I am a church planter of Simple Church models and missional communities, creating discipleship environments in mangers. These great churches would be at the complete opposite on a simple church in a manger. Manger vs. Cathedral. So as I begin my daily blog again I am going to write about my reflections from my time spent in these churches.
When you walk into these churches they instill in you a sense of awe, and belief in God, or at least definitely a sense of awe, and belief in architecture. As I walked into a church, take Notre Dame for example that started its construction in the 11th century and was completed in the 13th century, I tried to image not walking into it as a 21st century tourist who has seen everything, but walking into it for the first time it as a peasant of the 13th century. I would have lived in a small simple house with no electricity, TV, or running water. My life knowledge and experience would be of a 1mile circumference from my home. I would be uneducated and unread.
Walking up to Notre Dame would be like walking up in the shadow of a holy mountain. Its gargoyles that surround its walls would be staring down at me and the fear of God would envelope me. And when I gained enough courage to walk into it through it massive doors ordained with carving of saints and apostles I would have an overwhelming experience beyond belief: The vaulted ceilings that seem to reach the heavens. The gold gilded altar, the sculptures and artwork. The towering stain glass windows that fill the space with colors and light that I have never seen before, like light from heaven itself. Then there is a massive pipe organ in the back of Notre Dame that when played fills the grand space of stone with a reverberation like thunder that echoes into my very soul. When the choir joined in it would be like the heavenly host that announced Jesus’ birth. Next the priest, altar boys, and other members would parade down the isle in their gilded and embroidered vestments such as I have never seen before. The procession would be lifting up crosses, The Bible, and other church standards. The service would then take place in Latin ritualistically with thurifers sending up clouds of incense that would fill my sense of smell, bells ringing synchronized to the liturgy, and clergy chanting. As a 13 century peasant, I would have walked out of Notre Dame like Moses walking down from Mount Sinai, my face a glow from the overwhelming experience to my senses, convinced I had been in the very presence of God. Convinced of the power and authority of the church as God’s representative on earth.
Fast forward 800 years back to the present, to us of the 21st century. Jesus asked those in the church who went to see John the Baptist, “What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see?” (Matthew 11:9)
I reflected on Jesus question as a leader attempting to form true missional communities, What am I hoping people will see? You today who are in the church, on Sunday mornings when you head out to your church, “What then do you go out to see?” When you walk out of your “Notre Dame” following your service, what effect, what is the experience are you walking out with? When was the last time you walked out with “your face glowing” and a sense of awe that you are assured you had been in the presence of God?
My ODC family, I pray in your reflections and prayers on this the Holy Spirit will reveal and clarify in you, “What then are you going out to see?” Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!
One Direction Community- Lead Follower
Please share your reflections and experiences in the comment box below.