I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1-2 – Amplified Bible)
Friday evening, Rebekah and I enjoyed a long, leisurely dinner with our Koinonia supper group. What a most excellent group of friends! Congenial, interesting, well-educated, intelligent, thoughtful Jesus followers. We came away nourished – both physically and spiritually.
One detour in the conversation turned to the great cathedrals of Europe. Not only the great ones, but the less well-known edifices in more rural areas.
We talked about how cathedrals often took several generations to build, and how they represented the best act of worship a community could offer, a microcosm of a region’s architecture, art, artisans, craftspeople, history, and devotion. A town, or a region, would pour its resources into constructing the best possible testimony to their faith in God and their commitment to worship together as a people.
SPIRITUAL ARCHITECTURE: The spiritual landscape has changed a lot since medieval Europe – and that’s a good thing. But there’s something about the principle of bringing our best to God as an act of worship that resonates with me as I prepare to drive up Capital Boulevard to Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.
The architecture of worship has a more expansive blueprint than stone and mortar, and that we still feel compelled to bring everything that represents our best, and to offer it in celebration and gratitude to the Creator and Sustainer.
I like Eugene Peterson’s parsing of the Romans 12 opening. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”
WE’RE BUILDING A CATHEDRAL: When I take all this, my everyday life and the creative energy that makes me a one-of-a-kind person, and I bring it to church to worship God, then I am doing my version of laying a stone. When we all do this together, as a faith-community, when we bring everything that makes us the one-of-a-kind individuals that we are and place ourselves – collectively – before God as a spiritual offering, then what we’re doing is building a CATHEDRAL!
This cathedral of praise known as Wake Forest Presbyterian Church is as vibrant, as creative, as visually stunning, and as cutting edge in design as the collective faithful offering of its people…
…The congenial, interesting, well-educated, intelligent, thoughtful, beautiful Jesus followers I genuinely enjoy being with, and who I’ll be worshipping with this morning.
In love, and because of love – DEREK