I just got back from an amazing week in England. We saw a lot of the typical tourist things, the Tower of London, Stratford, Bath, and it was fantastic. So many beautiful buildings, so much history.
Bath Abbey is beautiful, and it actually made me cry. Between all the memorials for the deceased, and the diptychs, particularly the one for the crucifixion, I had tears running down my face.
I wanted to actually attend Sunday services in one of the beautiful churches, which I thought would’ve been really nice, but I didn’t end up doing that.
I remember thinking that I would probably be more motivated to go to church if I had a beautiful place to worship. There’s something inspiring about vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows that’s missing when your church holds services in a high school auditorium.
I’m sort of of two minds about that feeling. Part of me thinks, “Wow, how superficial of me, that’s not the sort of thing that should be important at all.” And yet, I believe that making beautiful things for religious purposes is an act of worship. Cathedrals, hymns, the Book of Kells. The work and skill put into those, to create something beautiful to honor God.
I don’t quite know what I’m going to do with that feeling. I wouldn’t join a denomination because their churches are pretty, but maybe I’ll spend some time listening to religious music and looking at pictures of cathedrals and illuminated gospels. And maybe go read the KJV version of some of the Psalms. (I’m a fan of later modern translations for actual study, but poetry is in part about the beauty of the language.)