Presence: The Lord meets Mary Magdalene on Easter Morning: York Minster.
David wanted to build a Temple in Jerusalem, no doubt intending to honour God with the best views in the city from a plot just next door to the King’s new palace. But the Lord was not in favour.
I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. (2Samuel7:6)
He is not a God to be domesticated, like the creature whose name is god spelt backwards, always ready to be idolised in a controlled and limited way. We must not idolise our Creator.
We can bring the best of our best to honour him in our church buildings: stained glass, soaring columns, glorious colour. They add nothing to him. But they can add something to us if we use them as doors to contemplation and prayer, and for that we need to move beyond art appreciation and learn to see and enjoy.
Celebrating Galway Cathedral at Fifty years, Fr Michael A. Conway writes:
To be attentive and to wait in such a place, to pray in this sense, is to be shaped by absence, by no-thing, in perfect freedom, beyond any conditions whatsoever; and so, ultimately, it is to be shaped by love. To pray in such a way in this kind of place is simply to enjoy God’s presence.
In The Furrow, LXVI, 11; November 2015, p580.
May we enjoy that presence wherever we are all through this new month.