The tourist season has certainly started here and its worth pausing to consider the lure of these buildings:

Painting and sculpture, music and drama, architecture and liturgy: all these involve arranging the physical world in ways that lead beyond the visible. This explains why abbey churches, like cathedrals, have always been places of artistic beauty, unashamedly using material and financial resources to create places that offer people access to the hidden dimensions of heart and soul. While numbers attending church services have dwindled, the numbers visiting great churches continues to rise.

 

The Christian story is that God is at work in the physical realities not just in the hearts and souls. This is expressed most vividly in the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. The risen Christ is the first example of a body remade in a new way, and this is the destiny of all those who share his spirit. We persevere in trying to align our bodies with our hearts and souls because in so doing we are aligning them with God’s work.  The book of the Bible, and the most misunderstood, is the Book of Revelation, where the author presents an apocalyptic vision of this world transformed by Christ. ‘Behold I make all things new’, says the Lord. In the end, literally, God will make all things new.

Finding Happiness

Monastic Steps for a Fulfilling Life

Abbot Christopher Jamison

Page 120

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