The cathedral was born in Nevrincea, Romania, in 1909. She flourished until Communism marched into her village and killed liberty.
She wanted to be reborn when the revolution lit up the night and cried “freedom.” She longed to breathe again when liberty was given new life.
She took stumbling steps and swung wide her doors. She gasped for air and she cried out, “come.”
She now hides behind trees, her doorways guarded by stinging nettle. Her pews wearily await visitors who walked away years ago. Spider webs are woven into the altar cloths and priestly vestments. A raven lies decaying – a reminder of life choked out. Holy images rot on altars and in confessionals. Her songs are covered in dust, her light now shattered into crystalline shards. She is exposed now, her balcony roof collapsed with moss growing on the tiles scattered on the crushed marble floor. Stained glass glistens like rain on the ground around her.
They say she is dead. And they mock her. Even those who believe themselves to be truth-bearers have given up on her. They scorn her for not fighting harder or crying more loudly, for allowing the ruin to come.
They say she’s dead.
She breathes a breath that is not her own. It’s there in the decay. It’s there in the dappled shadows that move along the walls.
The lover of her soul – her very soul – is there. And so she breathes, knowing even if she crumbles to the ground, He will keep her from destruction.
Yes, God kept us from what looked like sure death and He is keeping us. As we trust Him, He will keep us in the future. ~2 Corinthians 1:9
The cathedral is like days in my soul. Days when the liberty I’ve longed for – the freedom I’ve been given – isn’t the liberty I’ve yet received. Days when (please) is the cry of my heart.
These are not the days of flourishing. These are the days I keep quietly tucked away. The days I am collapsed and ruined. The shattered days. The torn days.
Left for dead by the accusers. Hearing even my own voice in the crowd.
The days I know you have too, if there is truly breath in you at all. For we all long for the flourishing and battle the quiet ruin. We bear the truth – and still we give up. Still we join the voice of the enemy who laughs as we stumble behind broken doors and wait on redemption to come.
And yet the lover of my soul is there. Still. He takes up residence in my decaying flesh and calls it home. He does not relent. He does not shutter the doors. He does not say “abandoned.”
He is brave.
So very brave.
He doesn’t mock the ruin. He doesn’t scoff the wreckage. He is fearless to stand on the shards and push back the darkness – he breathes life into my soul’s confession and her song.
Even if we crumble to the ground, He will keep us from destruction.
He looks at it all. And He finds it beautiful. He finds it worthy of dwelling.
He finds us worthy of dwelling.
“…stooping very low, He engraves with care
His Name, indelible, upon our dust;
And from the ashes of our self-despair,
Kindles a flame of hope and humble trust.
He seeks no second site on which to build,
But on the old foundation, stone by stone,
Cementing sad experience with grace,
Fashions a stronger temple of His own.”
~Patricia St. John
(thank you, Alison, for inspiring this post with a simple profound scripture)