Sunday, June 12, 2005

More Reflections from DC

While standing in line at the National Archives, waiting to get a glimpse of the Declaration of Independence, Consititution and Bill of Rights, I was impressed by the beauty and magnitude of the buildings around me. I was amazed at the intricate artwork of the columns and did a little internet research when I returned home. The National Archives Building has 72 Corinthian columns that are each 53 feet high, 5 feet 8 inches in diameter, and weigh 95 tons each. The capitals (that ornate top part of the column) was carved from a single piece of limestone. The two bronze doors that lead into the building each weigh 6 1/2 tons and measure 38 feet 7 inches high, almost 10 feet wide, and 11 inches thick.

Anyway, I remember standing in that line and having this thought: I'm glad our most important documents are housed in such a beautiful, impressive, awe-inspiring building. What a shame it would have been to view those papers if housed in some metal or standard frame building.

That then led me to think about the buildings we build in order to meet to worship the Lord.

I do find it interesting that when the Lord gave instruction to Israel to build His tabernacle, I read that the Israelites used (they gave more, but used only...) 2,210.74 pounds of gold, 7,044.71 pounds of silver and 5,352.45 pounds of copper. At today's market rates ($426.90 per ounce for gold, $7.25 per ounce for silver, and $1.59 per pound for copper), the dollars amount spent are:
  • $15,100.238.50 in gold
  • $817,186.36 in silver
  • $8,510.40 in copper
The total cost (just in these three precious and base metals alone) is $15,925,935.26. That is almost $16 million in metals. Naturally, the analogy doesn't follow completely but it goes to show that the Israelites did not scrimp and get by with cheaper materials and lesser plans.

Some may argue that it is a waste of money to build nice worship centers and sanctuaries. I say a cheap building reflects a deficient view of our High and Holy God. God deserves the very best we can offer. Naturally, I am not speaking of ostentatious displays of gaudinessI am not speaking of overly lavish gold-plated drinking fountains.
I am speaking of impressive simplicity that lifts the worshippers heart to soar in admiration and devotion. I am speaking of beautiful ornamentation that draws the worshippers out of the secular world we inhabit and into the throneroom of heaven itself.

Yes, you can do that in a meadow or an ocean shore or house. But when the corporate body gathers to meet in order to worship their God, why should the houses we leave be better than the house we enter.

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