Sorry to have been off-line for the better part of the week. Really, at this point, I’m not sure where to start as there is so much in my head right now. I’ve been meeting with great leaders here from Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. I’ve done some interviews for a video we’ll use back in the states to help us promote a strategy to plant lots and lots of life-giving local churches all over Europe. Europe is so thirsty for God and I’m truly overwhelmed at how the church, throughout the centuries and today, has gotten in the way of the path to him (Jesus is that path). I’ll save the righteous indignation that is churning in me until part two of this post.
Since I’ve got to start somewhere I’ll comment on my visit to Cologne (Köln) Germany yesterday. Cologne has a chocolate factory and museum which was a big hit for the rest of the family – I’ll let them comment on that on their blogs. However, the main attraction in Cologne is the Cathedral (Kölner Dom). It’s the third tallest church in the world. Wow! What a sight! Here’s a pic we took while sitting in traffic on a bridge.
The history of it’s construction is a powerful illustration of visionary leadership. In 1164 – for reasons I’ll mention shortly- a man envisioned a great edifice here and work started within the century. IT WAS COMPLETED SIX CENTURIES LATER.
I’ve been through some grueling church building projects, but it’s truly remarkable to me to think that a guy started building something that his grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren would one day complete. I have a small sense of the vision-casting it takes to get a project going, and the effort, the sacrifice, resource acquisition, the problem-solving and set backs, the leadership changes and the momentum, but to have the vision to start something that would take centuries to complete is remarkable to me. And that successive generations owned that vision and took it up as their own is amazing. It makes me think that what I envision is always far too small and that leaders today need to look far past their own generation in terms of what they are going to give their lives to build.
Today just outside this Cathedral is a hub of activity – a hub of LIFE – sidewalk artists, street musicians, people protesting stuff, others promoting causes, great shopping, restaurants, etc., all this literally sits in it’s shadows. What an opportunity for the church!! But it’s an opportunity that is fully squandered. The Bible says to whom much is given, much will be required – and considering the platform this church has been given in that city, it’s a waste. More on my thoughts there in part two.
Here’s another of Kaitlyn’s pictures.
I’m aware this is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture of which I am admittedly no fan. Nothing about it says LIFE to me. (In fact, it IS just an ornate tomb – you’ll have to wait for part two of this post for details, but for now, this wasn’t built to house LIFE, it was built to house the gold-plated skulls of the three Wise Men. No kidding. I about titled this post “Kölner Dom: an ornate tomb for gold-plated skulls” but Kristen vetoed it.)
I decided to check my heart as we got close because an offense was growing in me toward this – so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me what he saw – the only thing I got was a strong sense that Jesus, being far more gracious than I, was saying “this is not what I had in mind.” I’m assuming that is in reference to his statement to Peter about building his church.
My kids commented it looks like Isengard or Mordor from the Lord of the Rings. Aesthetically, it would seem to me, the only time it truly fit in with it’s surroundings was here in 1945 after the bombs of Allied Forces reduced the city of Cologne to ashes in WWII.
Don’t read anything into that statement, I’m just saying it is dark architecturally and spiritually. Allied Forces may have shown mercy on this place by leaving it stand, I’m saying I’m not sure on the Day of the Lord that he will be so sentimental – the Bible says judgment starts in his house. I’m told Cologne today is a seat of spiritual darkness in Germany – we saw secularism in full bloom. Is it any wonder when the church there is stuck in the dark ages? Forgive us Lord.
Here’s the verse I was reading this morning – it’s from Stephen’s speech in Acts 7:48 – “the Most High does not live in houses made by men.” Immediately after that verse the Lord asks “where will my resting place be?” To balance some of the negativism above, I must say Jesus CAN BE found in Europe today! Every day for me here it’s been a bit like “Where’s Waldo” – I’ve been asking Jesus to show me where he can be found here. I can report God has a remnant here on whom his Glory is resting and that remnant is growing in strength and number and in the supernatural power the people here desperately need.
Here’s the link to part two of this post.