Cathedral Amnesia

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I am preparing a talk about my backpacking trip across Europe for a group in our community. They are interested in learning about the cathedrals I toured in many different countries. I saw some awe-inspiring architecture and stained glass, and have some beautiful photos to share.

The problem is I’m having trouble remembering much about all those churches. But what I do remember, without any trouble, are the people that I met while traveling. I can remember their names, their stories, where I met them, and what we talked about. I remember a hairdresser from Amsterdam who argued with me about politics and religion in an alley, a coffee shop owner in Berlin who lived on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall, a pub owner who cooked me a traditional polish meal in Krakow, and the religion professor from London who was an atheist.

St. Giles Cathedral is in Edinburgh Scotland, but the details are a bit sketchy now. What I have not forgotten however is the older man who worked at the information desk. We talked about his wife, who he lost to cancer six months earlier. He was volunteering at the cathedral because he thought it would help him work through his grief.

Preparing for the talk is requiring more time than planned, but something significant has occurred to me.People are much more interesting than cathedrals. Their stories more colorful than stained glass. What if we thought of the people we meet each day as cathedrals to explore, as sacred places the Divine calls home? Nothing is really more important than the friends we make on this trip through life. So I think I’m going to make my presentation about the living cathedrals I’ve toured instead. Hope they’re not disappointed!

As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”