From a meme circulating on social media today:
While it is true that Jesus was born in a stable, he didn't stay there. He came down so that we might go up, and a beautiful church reminds us of our ultimate destiny and our heavenly calling.
I think beautiful churches serve an important purpose. They do indeed lift up the soul to God. They also require personal sacrifice on the part of those who build them, and personal sacrifice offered up to the glory of God is both fitting and meritorious.
But it is simply untrue to imply that Jesus left the stable as fast as his Mother could carry him. He lived in humble circumstances throughout all of his earthly ministry, from the small backwater village of his childhood to the open fields he walked with his disciples where he had nowhere to lay his head.
Even now he is found more readily in the poor and outcast than in the rich in-crowd. Why else do you think Mother Teresa went out searching for him in the gutters of Kolkata for fifty years, leaving behind a rather comfortable life teaching the daughters of privileged families in India?
We have some need for beautiful churches, but Christ does not. I suspect he deigns to meet with us in the marble and gilt temples we've built for him, but that he'd rather we sought him out in the small, serviceable churches at the peripheries of civilization.
(Image: Small stone church at sunset, Pixabay.)