When I went walkabout one evening during a recent business trip to Moscow I came across a rather stunning building. A street map identified it as the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. According to Wikipedia the Cathedral is the highest Orthodox Christian church in the world. The same Wikipedia entry records the history of the cathedral, which is a recently constructed replica of the original. Emperor Alexander 1 conceived the first cathedral on Christmas Day 1812 to honour Jesus Christ for the divine deliverance of Russia from the armies of Napoleon. It was many years before the original cathedral was completed, only to be turned into a pile of rubble on the orders of the Communist Government in 1931. The site was eventually used to construct the world’s largest open-air swimming pool. The present cathedral was built in the 1990s and replicates the original.
I did not have the opportunity to enter the cathedral and at the time was unaware of its history. Viewed from the outside the cathedral is a spectacular and ornate edifice, but does it bring glory to God as a building, and is it truly a place where God is worshipped? It made me wonder about church and how churches are viewed from the outside and from the inside. Church is supposed to be a body of believers, not an organisation or denomination, or a building regardless of its grandeur (or lack of). Does the way we do church really bring glory to God, or is it something we use to satisfy our own religious or other cravings? Did the church founded by Jesus Christ fund raise to purchase or refurbish buildings? Did the early church have programmes and rotas? I don’t have many answers, just a lot of questions. But if the church is supposed to be the bride of Christ will He be surprised when He lifts the veil to kiss the bride?
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:22-27 NIV)