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Cathedrals

March 12, 2017
The

The “rose” window of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Author Krysztof Mizera (changed by Chagler and MathKnight), Source File Rozeta Paryz notre-dame chalger.jpg (CC BY-SA 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, and 1.0 Generic)

Using little more than a set of compasses, a T-square, and a rope marked off at regular intervals, medieval masons crafted masterpieces in stone – places of worship filled with light.

The construction of Gothic cathedrals began with the laying of a cornerstone.  Completion of these soaring structures could, however, take hundreds of years.

At a time when higher mathematics was largely unknown in Europe, masons (responsible for actually laying the stone) combined the modern roles of architect, engineer, builder, designer, and craftsman.  With little or no formal education, stonecutters shared tips with one another, learning through trial and error.  Maker’s marks can still be seen on the stone in some locations.

Many Gothic cathedrals stand to this day, attesting both to the faith and skill of their builders.  But the real monuments were – as they are today – the lives of the men and women who worshiped in them.  God wants our stony and battered hearts.  He has set His mark upon them for all to see.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” (Ps. 118: 22).

Lord Jesus, You are the Stone the builders rejected, and our Cornerstone.  You are the Rock upon which we build our lives.  Help us to make You central to all our endeavors, that they may rest on a firm foundation.

We place our faith in You.

Amen

Originally posted 5/1/13

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

34 Comments
  1. You’d think ‘craftsmen’ today would be embarrassed by the fact that years ago the tools were more primitive, materials were scarcer – yet the product is more beautiful crafted and endures the test of time. Maybe that old song should have been sung: “Where have all the craftsmen gone…long time passing….”

    • And there are no apprentices. Sadly, no one is willing to put in the time. We’ve traded quality and devotion for speed and efficiency.

  2. Truly beautiful Anna. Thank you for this.

  3. Amen! Thank you for this beautiful analogy.

  4. It’s interesting that you refer to cathedrals as “places of worship filled with light.” Compare with today’s churches.

    It is interesting to notice church windows. They vary from stained glass to clear, large and small, a lot of windows or just a few—or even no windows at all. As churches have migrated from traditional Christian music to contemporary Christian music or Christian rock music, there has been a growing trend to build churches without windows.

    The church leaders claim that the windowless churches, sanctuaries, or auditoriums enable better control of the lighting, absolute control if the inside walls are black or a dark color. Indeed, the churches are becoming increasingly theatrical. Could it be that the increasingly theatrical nature of “worship” services tends to place more emphasis on man and less emphasis on God, despite the very best of intentions and the clearly Christian lyrics of the contemporary or Christian rock music?

    The dark-walled, windowless churches provide the pastors and other leaders of the Sunday morning “production” absolute, godlike control of the lighting. Yet, scripture says that, “God is light.” A long time ago, Lucifer wanted to be like God. It clearly did not work out well for him. Is it really a good idea to shut out ALL of the light?

    By shutting out all of the light are we literally, figuratively, or symbolically, shutting out God? Is there an affordable architectural compromise that would allow professional control of lighting for Christmas and Easter productions, but allow God’s wonderful physical and spiritual light to shine, at least while the pastor is preaching?

    The type, size, and number of windows are largely a matter of personal and congregational preference. But can zero windows become problematic? The abundance of windows in many older churches suggests a clear intent to let in as much light as possible. What has changed? What do you think?

    • Thank you for this thoughtful comment, Dr. Stebbins. I agree that our worship should be focused on God, not on ourselves. I love the old cathedrals. Many though have become little more than museums. The real measure of our spirituality is not the “buzz” Sunday service delivers. It is the work of the Spirit we accomplish, and the love we show to others every day of our lives.

      Wishing you well,

      Anna

      • Like you, Anna, I love old church buildings and big cathedrals. I love the atmosphere inside, especially when it is quiet. Somehow it affects my soul and calms me down… What I like not so much is when they begin to talk there (sermons included). 😉

    • It was amazing for me to read how your analogy here fits with what has happened spiritually at the same time. Shutting out the light equals shutting out God, no doubt about this. Great thoughts, Lloyd! ⭐

    • I have been churches that were painted black on the inside and like you said, Lloyd, the light was subdued and controlled. It would seem that the saying is sill true even in churches that, “men prefer darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.”

  5. Wonderful post Anna. Many years ago I used to be a builder and maker of things so I appreciate the skill level required to produce such magnificent structures. Much more however,do I appreciate the Master Builder who is chiseling away at the rough edges of my life. He’s certainly left a few “Maker’s marks” on me!

    • That’s funny. :)) I had no idea you were once a builder. I can barely put a nail in the wall, which is the perspective I bring to this. Like you, I am in awe of the Maker’s handiwork.

  6. Love the blogs and the meaning set by each of them. Thanks much for the wonderful messages.

  7. The tribute to the builders here is lovely, Anna. xx

  8. Thanks Anna, I have always loved the beauty of cut and colored glass with Light shining through and reflecting the images but like you I value greatly a Heart that radiates Love for God and for others, this is a bright Light in a hurting World and many of our Ancestors Worshiped God in this way.

    I agree with Dr. Lloyd Stebbins God’s balance in Music is being ignored today and we have the disco beat and constant repetition with shortened verses. I was very upset to here Amazing Grace changed to a disco beat and shortened considerably in a Church I was in recently, God gave the Authors of the Hymns and other Songs during the ages, the gifts of Music and words, how sad to see them discarded.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

    • We no longer recognize the value of what we have — not just the songs, but the ideas behind them. As you may know, Amazing Grace was written by a former slave ship captain. John Newton’s conviction comes through every line. The melody is believed to be African. Newton may have heard it from the captured slaves on his ships https://alawyersprayers.com/2014/07/06/amazing-grace/.

      Christians have been persecuted since the martyrdom of Stephen. Untold numbers have given their lives for Christ. When persecution reaches our shores, I doubt that a disco beat or strobe lighting in the sanctuary will keep anyone faithful.

      It is painful watching the destruction of what we love. All we can do is cling to the Lord. You are a great consolation to me in these dark times, Anne.

      With love,

      Your friend Anna ❤

  9. Its truly amazing how craftsmen back then with no formal education built such amazing structures through trial and error.

  10. Quite a feat, how craftsmen constructed such magnificent cathedrals,
    all those years ago! Also very interesting thoughts about modern church
    buildings trending toward controled atmosphere/lighting over windows
    and natural light—plus re-structuring classic hymns :-/ 💜 Jackie@KWH

    • I agree. Cathedrals not only give glory to God. They remind us that we each have a role to play in the body of Christ. However humble that role may be, we are part of a greater whole. ❤

  11. So much faith that went into building cathedrals, knowing you were more than likely not going to see the end result, knowing God would see to it that you would finish your / His work.

    Incidentally, Notre Dame de Paris is one of my favorite cathedrals. And Sacré Coeur. Always had to pay them a visit when I went home.

    • I envy you that! I studied French in high school (most of it long forgotten, I’m sorry to say). That was the first time I saw photos of those two beautiful cathedrals. ❤

      • They are pretty cool. But as a kid I preferred New York.

        Learning languages at school teaches you nothing. I work as a language coach / tutor, and the students who are able to speak a foreign language properly are the ones who use it outside of the classroom. But if you watch TV in French and read, it’ll come back.

      • I was born and raised in NYC. I know the city’s flaws, but it breaks my heart when outsiders disparage NYC. The city has so much life, so much to offer.

        Thanks for the tip about French. I’ve always wanted to see Paris. But these terror attacks have me leery of travel. Of course, they can happen anywhere.

      • Well, French people, Parisians especially, tend to have this attitude of what the hell, so take my advice with a grain of salt. 😃 I’d just go anyway. Terrorists be damned and all that.

        People either love or hate Paris. I swear I haven’t heard a single ambiguous comment yet. But for me it’s a beautiful city with all its flaws. And I feel the same sense of protectiveness you mentioned.

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