There are few places more beautiful than a European cathedral. I’ve been to many in The Czech Republic and Austria and each one is amazing in its own way.
Every time I’d enter a cathedral, I’d stand there amazed, appreciative and saddened. Amazed that humans could create architecture and artwork so beautiful. Appreciative that in a time when few people read, that the church embarked on building projects that would give people a glimpse of the majesty of God. (At least they tried.) Saddened because despite their efforts the paintings, the gold sculptures, and the ornate dwelling place didn’t do God justice. Not only is His big toe grander than anything man could create, He never wanted His house to be a building. He longs for us–our bodies–to be His temple.
1 Cor 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
There is something even sadder than the fact that men had spent hundreds of years, and a tons of currency, to build these exquisite temples in their desire to please God. The saddest thing is that they’re empty. In the time they were built, not every man–only those of high standing–could enter them. And now they are mere tourist destinations. Some, like St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague are full daily, but not of worshippers. The people mulling around are those impressed with the art–not God who the art tried to represent.
In fact, out of the entire country of The Czech Republic. Less than 1% of people there claim to be Christian. That number scares me. At least their ancestors believed in God–even though their efforts to build great cathedrals meant far less than dedicating their hearts to Him. At least in their history there were amazing men, like Jan Hus, who tried to share the truth.
There are few places more beautiful than a European cathedral, and there are few things sadder than a country filled with cathedrals that have become tourist attractions and little more. It makes me think of my own life, my own Christian traditions. Do I do what I do out of my heart–deep, deep in my heart? Or are my efforts simply building up something to look at–something empty, meaningless, and a poor representation of the real thing. What does God really want from me?
It’s something to think about.