This past Sunday, I visited a friend in Mainz, Germany, and in the freezing rainy cold, she kindly played the role of tour guide in her beautiful city.
One of the most memorable parts of the afternoon was when she took me to this amazingly grand cathedral in the city center.
Just in time for one of the Sunday services, I let the stunning organ music wash over me, and I felt in awe and very, very small.
I also felt at peace. Protected. To those that would choose to actually worship here and not just visit, I knew in my heart that there would be a sense of stability and reassurance.
In a tiny doubting corner of my mind, I questioned the allocation of resources used to build this palace of grandeur. But more than anything, I stood there in wonderment, looking up, looking all around me, drinking in the stateliness and painstaking artistry and dedication of my surroundings. The carvings, the color, the stones so cold and smooth to the touch.
If there was a God, this was one of two places in which he would be found… here, and by a waterfall and a rainbow.
Looking back now, that tiny corner of doubt in my mind has intensified. I think back to the audacity of it all, the blatant buying of closeness to the Lord through physical artifices. I reflect upon the great harm that the Church has perpetrated throughout history. Misogyny, murder, and more.
And yet I still wish I could Believe. For a few moments, standing within that great sanctuary, I was one with the powerful rumble of the organ, with the wafting voices of the minister and congregation, completely enveloped by the solid walls that had stood for nearly than three quarters of a millenium.
Something larger than myself. If only it could be something else.