Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We Are Cathedrals

I heard a song a few days ago that I have not been able to get away from. It's a song called Cathedral Made Of People.

Here are the lyrics:
If they shut down the churches, where would you go?
If they melted all the stained-glass windows?
Replaced every sanctuary with a condo?
Where would you go? Where would you go?
We are a cathedral made of people
In a kingdom that the eye can't see
We're a house, we are the bride
Where God's Spirit lives inside
And nothing ever could stand against her
If they burned every Bible what would you know?
If they tore your marked-up pages how would you grow?
And declared your devotion to be criminal:
What would you know? What would you know?
When they throw you in prison what will you do?
When they hate you for the things that you know are true
They can tear down this temple, but they can't touch you.

We are a cathedral made of people
In a kingdom that the eye can't see
We're a house, we are the bride
Where God's Spirit lives inside
And nothing ever could stand against her

Growing up, I heard many stories of the persecuted church in the far-away places on the globe. I remember so vividly the tales of oppression and tyranny that came out of the underground Church in the former Soviet Union, and the stories of physical torment and torture endured by Believers in China. Is there anyone who didn't grow up hearing the story of the little village girl who wouldn't spit on the picture of Jesus, as the soldiers lined up all the church people to do just that? I wish I could better recall the details of that, but I surely heard it more than once as a child. How well I remember the uneasy feeling that story gave me, because I always wondered about myself and the strength of my faith and will.

Certainly the opportunities for international travel and short term missions work that were afforded to me gave me a better appreciation for the wealth and abundance that is known in the United States. Trips like that leave a deep impression on a person, particularly a young adult. Even still, it's difficult to fathom or imagine what our lives could potentially look like in the absence of such freedoms. There are some things that are just hard to prepare your mind or your thinking for.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, or a panic- inducing nut regarding the current state of affairs in our nation. I do confess that in recent months I have given more thought than usual to the evasive knowledge that things may not always be as they were or as they are. We have been in the process for some time now of relinquishing certain personal freedoms for the greater good (and I'm not entirely convinced that's always a bad thing), but what could be around the bend of the road does make me uncomfortable.

So I'm pondering the questions put forth in the song. I wonder what I would truly know if I were denied access to Scripture...that's such a convicting thought. And then I have to wonder, with a church building on nearly every corner of this town and so many towns across the nation, what would happen come Sunday morning if they were all gone? How would the Body of Christ make its presence known in this world? Would we know how to function without our traditions, our committees, our boards and trustees? If we couldn't complain about this little perceived infraction, or gossip about that person's business...would we suddenly turn our attention to the things that matter most? If we couldn't pat ourselves and each other on the back for our wonderful teaching and training, and pride ourselves on our close-knit "family" church atmosphere, would we in turn give a second thought to the inevitable plight of the lost around us?

I don't really know, and I don't think there's actually a way to predict how we would handle a little "persecution". True, there is the historicity of what happens to the Church during times of repression. Oh, how I hope we never have to grow that way! I hope that is never what it takes to refine us, here in this our Homeland!

Maybe it's time to read again after Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Lord, make me a temple that is fit for Your dwelling. A Cathedral......

6 comments:

Kim M. said...

I've been thinking along these lines too... thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Juwah said...

Tara;

Good, thought-provoking read. Thanks.

Kimberly said...

reading your last 2 posts..i'd missed them! glad you're back to blogging a little...i'm trying, too....

ah.."traditions & patting ourselves on the back"...tough words, my dear...but i think sadly there's truth there. I think those and others missplaced focuses (?) are likely part of the reason we find ourselves in a culture that is more and more lacking in Godliness.

a good admonition to truly seek to be His cathedral, regardless of what others do.

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Tara said...

I'm sorry you feel that way, Doris.