Thousands of tourists enter these churches every year. I watched some of them—heck, I was one of them! We all gazed in awe at the appearance of holy and I found myself wondering how many people enter these great cathedrals and experience the Holy of God.
He was there, God/Jesus. There were figures of Him nailed to a cross hanging over the altars, paintings of Him performing miracles, being crucified or after He was raised from the dead. His story was everywhere.
My favourite of all the churches was Sainte Chapelle with it's soaring stained glass windows that fill the church with a mystical light.
As I stood in the nave and gazed at the workmanship I asked God some questions:
Are you here?
Does this building...with all its stained glass and expensive art and exquisite craftsmanship...does it please you? It was built for you, you know.
Then my thoughts turned inward:
Am I like this? Am I desperately trying to be like this old and glorious cathedral, just someone who has an appearance of holiness?
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am Holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16
I fall short of holiness daily but I keep striving for it. I yearn to be holy, I plead that each day, moment, thought, decision is one that pleases God. And isn't that when Holy is found—in the little breaths of every day? Because if we can't be Christ-like in the little moments then the big moments will surely fall short. It seems silly to think that holy can be found when my daughter spills her milk on the floor...but that's the beautiful mystery of a life that yearns for God and is covered in grace.
And I did experience holy in Europe. It was in Germany, in a little church that sat at the bottom of a hill covered in gravestones and flowers and the greenest grass. The church was built in the 14th century. It had beautiful scenes painted on the walls that were faded by time. I watched the lives of two dearly loved people join as one. It was a holy moment. A little breath in time steeped in the presence of God.