Monday, April 2, 2012

Aren't they all...

I read this headline the other day:

Trinity Cathedral, Southwest Florida's Episcopal mother church, will undergo a $7 million renovation project, which should be completed by the summer of 2013, involves restoring its signature organ and delicate stained glass windows and bringing the cathedral’s electrical and structural components up to code — a major undertaking for a building completed in 1925.

The renovation, like many home-repair projects, uncovered something a bit unusual:
The marble floor around the altar was held up by concrete, plaster of Paris and straw.  “We were pretty much astounded,’’ said The Very Rev. Douglas Wm McCaleb, who is overseeing the project.

As I thought about it, it should not surprise anyone.  The Church is always held up by the concrete (the means of grace through which God makes accessible forgiveness, life, and salvation), plaster (the lives of the saints who delivered to us the sacred deposit and whose faithfulness is commended to us as example), and straw (our own human frailty through which our blessed Lord has deigned to work). It is never any other way. 

They are certainly not the building materials we would choose but God has esteemed them be the means through which He will build His Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it...  We often get confused and presume that we are the concrete instead of the straw, but God knows what He is doing.  We sometimes presume, like Peter, that we are almost concrete, plaster, if you will.  Then a cock crows and we find the veil lifted and we are exposed for what we are.  Sadly, we often ignore the concrete God has provide in the means of grace (Word and Sacraments) that are the solid stuff on which His Church is planted and by which His Church lives and breathes and has her being.  As often as we get confused, the Word is there, by the Spirit's power, to guide us into all truth.

I suspect that all true churches are held up by the very same odd mixture of building materials.  It should come as no surprise to us -- a great mystery, yes, but no surprise...  I hope and pray that they are here...

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