Thursday, July 10, 2008

Building a cathedral

Have you ever put together a piece of do-it-yourself furniture? You know, an IKEA shelf unit, or a computer desk. Maybe even a garden shed.
The whole idea is to save a couple $$ by doing it yourself--but you still want it to look perfect, and be done in two hours.
I recently watched a documentary about a cathedral in Spain called Sagrada Familia. It's been under construction for awhile. Over 120 years, to be more precise. And it isn't finished yet, not for a few decades--even with today's technology.
Done perfectly--yup.
Done quickly--nope.

There are a couple of large churches in downtown Victoria a block apart. One building is nearly 100 years old, the other even older. Magnificent structures, but they weren't built in an afternoon.
Both of these cathedrals are made of brick. By itself a brick is pretty small, but together they form a pretty impressive building. They must have taken years to build--maybe not as long as the Sagrada Familia, but still a long time. Layer on layer, brick by brick. Constantly checking that everything is level and plumb. I expect that the bricklayers knew the job wouldn't be done this week, this month, or even this year. Or, like the present architect of the Sagrada Familia project expects, not even in their lifetime.
Still, day by day the building takes shape. Towers, stained glass, and finally pews and pulpit.

God knows His church isn't built in a day. It's a life-long process. Line upon line, precept on precept. Bit by bit our lives become shaped into His image and character.
He has patience, we should too. As we live out our lives in relationships, we often want people to change overnight. What was once an empty lot we want to turn into a cathedral by Saturday.
That's not how it happens. It's here a little, there a little. Bit by bit our friendships grow. Bit by bit our friends are changed into God's image.
Be patient.
Keep plugging.

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