The great cathedrals of Europe are awe-inspiring. And so are some of the royal residences – the castles – that still are still standing centuries after they were built.
Mary Ann and I spent the last two weeks on a tour that took us from Prague to Leipzig to Nuremburg and then down the Danube river to Passau, Vienna and Budapest. Along the way we saw the church in Wittenberg where Martin Luther preached and nailed his 95 theses to the church door in October of 1517. We went to Wartburg Castle, where Luther was in hiding for 11 months, and where he translated the Bible from Greek to German. We went to the monastery where he trained to become a monk.
In each of the cities we visited, we toured cathedrals, marveling at the artistry and the architecture. Neither of us knows baroque from gothic, but that didn’t stop us from walking into any of the cathedrals and wondering how the columns and spires and frescos on the ceilings were created in an era before cranes and computers.
The castles are equally remarkable. These sprawling structures built on hilltops to serve as both fortresses and royal residences make the house in Downton Abbey look like a guesthouse out back.
In addition to marveling at the architecture, I found myself wondering what motivated the men who built these structures. As they mapped out their plans, were they thinking about God’s glory or their own? Were they fueled by any kind of rivalry, comparing their cathedral to the one in the next town, wanting to make sure theirs was bigger and grander than any other? And as they donated time and money for the building of these great cathedrals, is it possible they were thinking that their money or labor was meriting God’s favor in some way?
Over the past several years as we have thought and prayed about a permanent church home for Redeemer, I have had to wrestle with my own motives. I’ve prayed the prayer in Psalm 139, asking God to search me and know my heart regarding this building, and to reveal to me any wicked way that might be lurking there.
As I have prayed, what has continued to be at the forefront of my thinking is the need for there to be a gospel outpost in Little Rock that will exist for one purpose only – to point men and women, boys and girls over and over again to the only source of life and peace in this world.
The great cathedrals of Europe are mostly museums now. People go as spectators, not as worshippers. While the high ceilings and ornate décor makes a statement about the glory and grandeur of God, most people who step into the buildings these days are their to marvel at the handiwork of the craftsmen who created the buildings, not to worship the God who created the heavens and the earth.
As I think and pray about our new home, my desire is that our building would be a house that facilitates worship, study, fellowship and prayer for generations to come.
I hope that is your prayer as well.
If you’re on Facebook, I hope you’ll start following David O Dodd Elementary School (https://www.facebook.com/DavidODoddElem/). I loved seeing the back to school pictures they posted this week. And I loved dreaming about how God might use us in the months ahead to love and serve the teachers and students in this school.
Check out some of the pictures, and start paying with me about what God might have for us here, okay?
Next Tuesday night is our back to school, last hurrah for summer Pizza and Pool night at the Pleasant Valley pool. We’ll start at 6:00, eat pizza at 6:15 and swim until 8:30.
Lot’s happening this fall. Here’s what’s on the calendar:
And some special upcoming events to take note of:
It's almost time for small groups to start up again this fall. Are you in a small group? Looking for one to visit? Here's what's happening starting next month:
How would God have us express our pain and our sorrow to Him? How should we speak to God in our suffering?
Psalm 13 gives us a template to explore. And we’ll do that this Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!