Sunday, October 23, 2016

Habakkuk and Luke: Being Visible

Write it large enough so that someone running by can see (Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4). Climb a tree so you can see (Luke 19:1-10). The Proper 26C/Ordinary 31C readings from Hebrew scripture and the Gospel are about visibility: seeing and being seen.
Basilica of St. Sernin. Toulouse, France. Consecrated 1180. 
When it comes to visibility - physical visibility anyway - one of the most traditional things congregations do is put steeples on their church buildings. When a symbolic meaning is applied to the structure(s), it has to do with drawing our eye up toward God and heaven. There is also a purpose that is a bit more prosaic. In a town where buildings are cheek by jowl and all made of the same local building materials, it's hard to distinguish one building from another.

If you are entering a town, a steeple serves almost like a flashing neon sign: Church right here! Of course now there are churches with flashing signs in front of their buildings, so perhaps the steeple is becoming redundant.

The five towers of Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Tournai, Belgium makes the skyline of the city distinctive. 
For the cathedral, see:
It is also the case that some congregations prefer to blend in rather than stand out. Architectural elements like steeples are too "churchy" or too out of scale with humanity (the measure on which the building is based).

Are we writing our story large? Are we visible? Are we supposed to be?

What about this structure? Find out more at the Art&Faith Matters Facebook page. Click here.

For thoughts on Luke 19:1-10, click here.

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