Sunday, August 20, 2017
The hollowness of God
So many people dis God these days--criticizing him because he (she, or it) doesn't correct the dysfunction and atrocity of this world. And the word on the street or in the web is that the Deity, if he (she, or it) does exist, doesn't seem to care enough about us and our faith to make our proper expression of that religion a little easier to validate.
My guess is that God is a little skittish. When he did show up here to give us some direction, we nailed him to a cross. So perhaps you can understand why he doesn't just throw his weight around; he knows we're likely to just crucify him again. In fact, some of his people are probably being given the third degree in places right now here on this earth.
One thing that God has done lately that I know of, however, is: he has taken a lower profile. The deity's presentation to us these days doesn't appear to be aimed at compelling us to revere the high and mighty aspect of his being.
This is a different scenario than what it used to be among us homo sapiens.
There is evidence in the earth, however, that in ages past, God's presence was experienced and conceived of amongst his people in way very different than what his minimal interface with us today would indicate.
In times of long ago, it seems that God was Big.
Which is to say, when humans strove to express their devotion to the Almighty, they did it in a big way. They built big structures for a big God.
We were in Europe a few weeks ago, traveling between three fascinating capitals, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. Traipsing through such ancient cities was a real eye-opener for me. These old megalopoli are amazing in the eyes of a clueless American such as I, who was born and raised, you see, in a the "new world." I have discovered now that America truly is a new world, compared to this very old place.
In the new world we do have Big, but our Big is mostly applied to commercial stuff, like the Empire State building, Sears Tower, TransAmerica building, World Trade Cent--er, not that one. Anyway, we Americans developed Big Business, so we have built big buildings to express our big ideas about capitalism, and our big development projects and our big bank accounts.
In Europe, hundreds of years ago, Big was all about God. Let me show you what I mean. Here's a shot of the inside of the Cathedral that the Czechs built in Prague, at a complex called Prague Castle:
You betcha. The Catholics worked on this thing for over 600 years before they got it finished. As you can surmise from the photo, the inside view of this structure is quite impressive, possibly incredible enough to even inspire the beholder's belief in God, or at least provoke a thought or two within the viewer's brain that God's non-existence is an unlikely proposition, since humans would go to so much time and expense to build such a place of worship for Him.
The outside is pretty impressive, too:
Surely they. . . we. . . would not do all that for a God who doesn't exist.
In the olden times, when believers would gather together in this place and others like it, they would attend masses that were performed by priests, and they would pray to God and pray at God and receive communion and then be dismissed by the priest to go back to their humble domiciles and live their simple lives. That's what doing church was all about back in the middle ages when the construction of this Catholic temple was begun.
Nowadays, though, doing church is typically more like what these folks were doing in Vienna, on a typical summer Monday morning,
Apparently that's "doing church" in the 21st century.
But for the worshippers in that sancturarial up-front, whatever transpires mysteriously in that hollowness between the congregants and their risen Saviour is not the same as whatever we tourists are doing in the periphery as we gaze up at the distant ceiling.
I do wonder what's going on up there. It's a long way up. Incredible what men and God can do when they put their souls to it.
King of Soul