By Paul DeCelles
My wife Jeanne and I, together with four of our children, lived in Switzerland from 1965-66. Seeing the ancient cities, experiencing older cultures, and learning new languages were a few of the benefits. I even managed to overcome my fear of heights enough to climb to the tops of magnificent cathedrals—if my children were dragging me!
There is a great cathedral in every great town in Europe. In fact, there is a great cathedral in nearly every town in Europe, great or small.
Near the end of one exhausting trek to the top of a cathedral spire, I paused to catch my breath while the children ran ahead. A small ray of light caused the dust we raised to dance above my head. I stretched far from the narrow staircase, craned my neck around and looked through a slender opening to the outside. The cars below seemed smaller than ladybugs. I realized that no one on the street could see me at so great a height.
Then, looking out and up, I saw a magnificent statue tucked into a niche in a small turret to my left. It could only have been seen from the precarious spot where I was standing. I suspect I am the only person who has seen it in hundreds of years.
Why put a beautiful statue where no one can see it? Because the only one who was meant to see these things was the Lord of all creation. The builders, the townspeople, the sculptors, the artists all did the work for God, for his pleasure. The whole building, and thereby in fact most of the town, was built for God.
What is the motivation in our lives? Why do we accumulate the things we do? Why do we spend our energies on the projects we do? Our lives may very well contain things, done for God, which no one else ever sees or admires. These especially should give us delight, for we know they are exceedingly pleasing to our Lord who sees all things.
I am not advocating building more churches of stone and mortar. I am suggesting that Christians see the Lord, the master architect, for a plan for the cities we live in. We should be building a Christianity within our cities that will someday tower above and give meaning to everything else our hands have made. It would be a Christianity that strangers couldn’t help but notice as they enter our cities, one which would move them to look heavenward for inspiration of our labors.
In order to make that kind of difference, we Christians have to put our talents in common. We have to work according to the plan the Lord gives us.
Used with permission and excerpted from an article published in Vine & Branches, December 2018.