Monday, March 2, 2009

Insignificance amongst the greats of the past

My recent travels in the UK gave me a whole new view on my real place in this world. When facing a building that took 250 years to build, you start understanding how small you really are.

Today our expectations are that we could design and build all our dreams in a singular lifetime, but really good things take a a lot longer.Just take the Minstry in York. Every rock carved out of a solid slab to fit perfectly on the rock below it. In today's engineering world, everything is mass produced for as little as possible (the bricks we build with today are not custom sized for anything other than productivity) and we often dream of a standard like - all vehicles use the same size oil filter.

But the rocks on the Minstry and on so many other old historic buildings were each custom made just for the block below it. Unlike the song that used to be so popular in the 1980's and earlier with the words that say "...we are just another brick in the wall..." these stones are each unique and specially chiseled to fit just in that spot.

What makes this analogy even more of a trip is that the rock it is build of is perhaps millions of years old. If I had to determine the age of the Minstry by its components it would be calculated to be millions of years old. A faulty rational that doesn't seem to bother any of the evolutionist cronies.

I walked into the Minstry and there I saw art that was handmade. Now remember that this art form is not into wood or metal that you could melt and pour into some form to assure the repetitive accuracy of the end product, but from rock. Hard rock that was slowly chipped away at till it reached perfection. Perfection was the only thing that was good enough for an altar in any of these great buildings of yesteryear. Mostly places of worship that stood the test of time. I imagined the work that went into every detail of those wonderful buildings and I wondered if I would have been able to do that which was before me.

To understand me a little better I need to reveal that I am the kind of person that has very little fear in taking on something I have never done before. I watch extreme sports on TV and I find a force driving me to try it myself, but when I stood before these sculptures and pictured myself doing it, it brought a type of fear over me that I had never felt before. The person doing this work had to have the patience of a saint. Tirelessly, but never mindlessly, he had to chip and scratch away at the granite and marble. Big slabs of continuous stone with motif after motif on it. Portraits of different people who might have been men and woman of great esteem during this era of religious faith. And repeating intricate shapes flawlessly. Now working with marble or any rock, there are many small inconsistencies in these very hard materials and just think how long it must have taken one young man to produce such a fete of wonder. He might have had to work on it more than a year with his primitive tools and perhaps at the very end of this piece of work he loses his concentration and chips away a piece of rock that should still be part of the larger sculpture. What happened then. This was the fear I was feeling.I went to everyone and looked for the error, but found not one. I can only think that the young man started over. But that's okay, because he started on his work 4 lifetimes before the due date for the delivery of this magnificent building.

If I was to start such a venture in those days, it was my son's son's son's son that would be at the inaugurational service and he would be the one to praise God in this magnificent building so fitting for service. A building that was the life's work of thousands of people over several generations. Families of workers, whose greatest fete was to have their sons carry on the work that they begun. The final completion of these churches was not witnessed by the layers of the foundation, but the completed product brought honour to all that lived their lives for its final blessing. A blessing of worship that would continue for many more generations than the 5 it took to erect it.

I stood inside these cathedrals and felt the presences of angels. Here was evidences of tears that was spilt form many for the lost souls of this world. Many a sinner became a saint on bended knee, within these pews and it was as if their prayers were still faintly echoing within those thick walls of stone. I could see how one would treasure such a building in your community. A place where there is so much beauty to behold, you might even forget about the pain you came there with, the reason you brought your prayer there. Surely if God was anywhere it had to be there.

As I was taking this all in, it occurred to me that in the same way, we are part of the generations of workers that build on the church of Christ. A building of the souls of people amongst whom God will dwell and where He will be worshiped. This church is the real McCoy, this church will forever stand. We have opportunity to be part of the workforce to build this ultimate building, that He calls - His church. And just like the young man, we would have to start over when we make a mistake. Herein is the patience of the saints that they labour on even though the rewards lay many generations into the future. And like the workers of the Minstry, Peter, Paul and John who laid the foundations to this church, bare honour with all who labour for its completion. How great that day when God pitches up for the that great inaugural service, but until then we labour on.

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