Saturday, March 23, 2013
The House With No Windows
I suppose it must be some kind of professional malady that causes me to see church building on any taken journey. It is not that I start out looking for them, they are in plain view, and my eyes cannot help taking me there. While many look alike in many ways, each one is different and unique. Today on the way to my destination, I saw this pre-fabricated building long and high with a steeple adorning its top. It was new since I passed that way some time ago. The older smaller sanctuary sat alongside to be used for some other purpose now that the worshipping congregation has a new home. The new sanctuary is still small, only a bit larger than the first one, but certainly newer and, no doubt, the source of much congregational pride. But, the thing I noticed immediately about it was that it had no windows. Solid walls stretched from front to back on both sides.
A church with no windows is something I have never served in my long years of ministry. Certainly, there have been some where the stain glass windows made it impossible to see what was going on outside, but still sunlight and shadows filtered in and flitted across the colored glass. I wonder about a church with no windows. Was it an oversight to put folks in such a closed in place? Was it an economic decision and a way of cutting cost? Was is to keep those inside from being distracted from what might be happening on the outside? Or, was it a way of keeping what was happening on the outside from affecting those who sat before God on the inside? If the folks there managed to get God on the inside, there would be little way for Him to get out. Maybe such was part of their thinking.
Reality suggests that none of the above really apply. Sometimes folks just do things with worship places without really thinking too much about the questions it might raise in the minds of those who pass by. Sometimes folks just do not really give much consideration to what the design and architecture of a worship place might suggest about those who worship in the holy space. But, the truth is that worship places speak to those who sit and listen. As many over long generations have discovered, a place of worship is a great place to meditate and ponder the things visible as a way of getting in touch with the Invisible One who dwells, not inside our buildings, but in our hearts.