The Sagrada Familia is a humongous Roman Catholic church still being constructed in Barcelona, Catalonia Spain.. Is humongous a word? It must be as it didn’t come up on my spell check! Its formal name is Temple Expiatori de la Sagrad Familia. A mouthful in itself – no wonder they shortened it! If you’ve ever seen pictures of this church, you will understand my fascination with it.
Everything on this church is ornately detailed and represents an aspect of Christianity in its design. It has amazingly beautiful spindle-shaped towers decorated with words like “hosanna” and “excelsis” that will eventually represent the 12 apostles, Mary, and the four evangelists. I say “will eventually represent” because this church is still under construction. Still under construction you say? That’s not so amazing, until you realize that the creator first broke ground on this unbelievable edifice in 1852, making a building 157 years-in-the-making! On the subject of the extremely long construction period, the designer Antoni Gaudí, who spent over 40 years of his life working on this project is said to have remarked, “My client is not in a hurry.”
According to Wikepedia, well over 2 million people visit this church annually and it is one of the biggest attractions in Spain. The Prime Minister of Spain recently approved plans for a train tunnel to be constructed under the church that has become a great concern for fans and architects of the church as they are worried that the long term affects of the vibrations underneath the structure might weaken the stability of the foundation of the church. The cathedral is set to be complete in the year 2026.
As you view this wonder now, it resembles a golden crown, its aspiring towers stretching toward the sky in gilded splendor, while the center of the structure is empty. If you were to view the model of the completed church (see below),
you would notice a giant thicker tower directly in the center of the building. Mr. Gaudi’s intent was for the center tower to represent Jesus Christ, but alas, has yet to be constructed.
Isn’t this just like some people’s Christian walk? Have you ever found yourself so set in “doing” for God that you forget to make him the center of it? Have you ever got so busy “playing church” and going to pot-lucks and working in a ministry like Children’s, Youth or Women’s ministry that you forget to look to the King of King’s to direct your service? Have you ever faithfully ushered for 10 years only to find that you don’t notice the hurting people you help to their seats? How about getting irritated at that person who made you move your purse out of the empty seat next to you because they show up late for church and crawl across everyone, stepping on toes as they go? Or what about that crying baby that disturbs your “worship” because that young single mom with the pierced lip doesn’t have the sense to take it out to the sound proof children’s room? Have you made your career your family? Do I sound like I have first rate experience in this matter due to my detailed questions? I do! Have you forgot that Jesus talked to the not-so-desirable people of His time as well? Have you forgotten His lifestyle and His message?
What about the “underground” aspects of your life? Are there things vibrating beneath the surface that threaten to disturb your stability because you’ve forgot to put Him at the center of your thoughts and actions? Are there tunnels slowly being dug in your life that seek to throw you off balance? I think we can all nod a resounding “yes” to that questions! However, if you don’t look to the Great Designer whose intent and purpose is to fulfill you, not in your service, but in your compassion, your faith and your love for His cause, even when the ground is shaking around you, will your structure quake and crumble along with your character?
We are all creations in the making, like the grand basilica Sagrada Familia. God is continually desiring for us to aspire to be something greater, something more. But we MUST remember to keep Him at the center of our lives, throughout this construction to truly reach the beauty of God’s will for us. We should first erect that pillar of Jesus in the center of our framework and keep it as our main support throughout the rest of the adventure that is our life. I wonder if Antoni Gaudi could go back and start over, I wonder if he would have started with a symbol of the Master instead of trying too hard and too long to master perfection himself?