In the summer of 2006 I was privileged to visit Prague, Czech Republic. I was able to spend one entire day walking those amazing streets. I lost track of how many pictures I took; it was an incredible day. One of the highlights was a visit to what would be considered to be the National Cathedral of the Czech Republic. I was blown away by the intricate architecture as we stood in line outside… more detail than any other building exterior I had ever seen.
Upon reaching the door, I was charged an entrance fee… I don’t even remember how much it was because I had already stopped blinking and my jaw had dropped open… the interior was even more beautiful than the outside was, and I was only in the foyer. I walked slowly to the main hall, taking in every sight… after a quick left turn I was looking into one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Every thing was beautiful… every brick, every tile, every window, every light fixture…. simply beautiful. I didn’t take a single picture that would accurately depict what a beautiful place this is.
After wandering around for a while, I asked one of the locals what kind of services they hold in such a place… “None”, he said. “None?”, I asked… “Nope”, he answered. “Christmas, Easter, anything?” I continued… “No, they don’t hold any services here” he answered. My awe of the beauty of this place was met with immeasurable sadness.
I have no idea who the people were who started the construction of this great cathedral in the 13th. century… I can’t even imagine how many hours of preparation took place, how much money had to be raised, how many months or years of construction… but I could see in every detail how much passion went in to this House of God. It was so obvious that these people had a heart and a reverence for God, and that this church would stand for many years as a place where people could connect with God… and yet, here we were, hundreds of years after it’s construction was started… tourists in this place. This once proud church now stands as a mere monument to something that once was. Dead. Beautiful. My heart broke.
How close are some of our churches in America to being tourist attractions? How many places that were built or converted to be places where broken people can connect with God are in danger of becoming somthing else? We need leaders who will not bow to any status quo, who will follow the voice of Christ where ever he leads, and who will challenge God’s people to never settle for anything less than the Gospel.
Lord, God… make me that kind of leader.