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Posts Tagged ‘cathedral’

It’s the practice of many churches to have a sunrise service on Easter morning.  There is something symbolic and meaningful to see the dawning of a new day and know that it is the day we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

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The sun is just rising above the trees.

This year I had a different type of sunrise service.  It was held on the back porch of our cottage and instead of sitting in a pew I was sitting in a rocking chair.  Instead of being all dressed up I was in my pajamas.  🙂 The porch faces South-East and I was able to enjoy a beautiful view of the sun coming up through the trees.

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It’s now daylight.

I sat quietly listening to the birds singing for a while and then decided to listen to a song that seemed appropriate,  Allegri Misere.   I played it on my laptop so I could see the pictures and the words.  It is sung in Latin, but this particular video shows the words in English as well.

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Getting Brighter

For me there are two things which touch my soul and cause me to worship the Creator  –  the sounds of nature and certain music.  As I listened to this worshipful song which was accompanied by the chirping birds I realized that I was hearing two beautiful things which can help my heart and soul to worship God at the same time.

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My Cathedral in the Forest

There are also two places that I feel closest to the creator–in the woods and in a Cathedral.  ( I know, they are vastly different, but they both have a profound affect on me. ) As I was watching the words on the video and the stunning pictures of cathedrals, I realized I was also seeing two things that bring me into a worshipful place.  I literally had my Cathedral in the middle of a forest.

I may not have gone to any ‘official’ sunrise service, but I was able to worship the risen King in a very real way  –  possibly more than if I’d been in an organized service.

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Can’t you FEEL the emotion on her face?

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Front Entrance of Cathedral and View of Both Spires

 

One of the attractions in Basel that everyone recommends is the Meunster Cathedral.  I love going into Cathedrals and old churches so this was definitely on our list of things to see.

 

 

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One of the Stained Glass Windows

 

We were able to tour much of the Cathedral, which was absolutely beautiful.  This particular Cathedral has 2 spires and we were able to climb one of them – 250 spiral steps.  We stopped at several points on the way to the top and walked around the spire on a narrow walkway.  The view from the top was breath-taking.

 

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Just starting the climb

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Part way up and looking up at the other spire

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At the very top and looking directly across at the other spire

 

It was amazing to see the entire town of Basel from this vantage point as well as looking straight across at the other spire.  Luckily I have no fear of heights so it was sheer joy and pleasure for me.  The walk down was tricky at times, but we made it back to the main sanctuary safely.

 

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The organ…AMAZING!!!

 

After coming down we discovered there was an organ recital about to start so we took a seat and waited for the organist to begin.  As we waited I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting across the way talking and gesturing to himself and my first thought was that he must be a little senile.  After watching him for 30 seconds I realized that he was praying – having an honest, heart-felt conversation with God.  He was experiencing deep emotion and it was very evident that he does this often.  He didn’t care who was around him or what they thought – he was spending time with his Lord. It was clear that his prayer was very earnest and he was listening as well as talking.

As the organ music began he closed his eyes and I could see that he wasn’t just hearing the music, but he was FEELING the music.  He would lift his hands at times and move them to the music much like a conductor would.  He was still moving his lips at times and putting his hand to his head as if overwhelmed by a thought/emotion.  He was enjoying the music with the one he had come to spend time with.

At the end of the recital people began to clap and he put his hands over his ears.  Only the Lord knows why he did this, but I couldn’t help but think that either the sound of the clapping was interfering with his worship or he was offended that people were giving praise to the organist instead of the Lord.  As everyone began to leave I watched him slowly rise from his chair and walk out of the church holding on to his cane and he was fairly stooped over.  He had a look on his face like he had just had the most wonderful time communing with someone he loved very much—the God of the Universe.  He may be feeble of body, but he has an extremely healthy soul.

 

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Empty chairs after he had left

 

Often just being in a cathedral and sensing the Holiness brings tears to my eyes, but watching that man was more beautiful than any grand tower or stained glass window. I can’t help but think that I’ll never see a sight as beautiful as that no matter how many cathedrals I tour.  I hope to someday have that kind of relationship with God that I can freely worship in whatever way I am moved, regardless of what others think.  I guess when you are staring into the face of someone you truly love everything else fades away.  I’m going to keep praying that God will help me to feel that kind of love for him/her.  I hope you might pray the same.

 

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Window

As I have been focusing on spiritual things during this season of Lent, a trip to the National Cathedral in Washington did just that – it drew my eyes and heart heavenward.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit, I would highly recommend it.  This Cathedral is the 6th largest in the world and has 231 stained glass windows.  You can look at pictures, but there is something that can only be experienced by walking through the doors.

Rowan LeCompte, the cathedral’s foremost stained glass artist, compares stained glass to music.  ” Both are emotional and instinctively perceived. Like music, stained glass can stimulate the imagination, it can lift the heart, it can enchant.”  I found this to be true.  Music has the ability to touch my soul and I discovered that stained glass also moves me in indescribable ways.   The beauty of these windows as well as the architecture were awe inspiring and as I walked around I found myself in tears several times from the feelings that overwhelmed me.

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The amazing beauty of the stained glass, as well as the of the incredible architecture of building itself, caused me to have the distinct feeling that I was in the presence of something Holy.  The windows all have unique and specific meanings, some Biblical and some historical.  Seeing Jesus, Mary, other well-known Biblical figures depicted in these scenes reached out and grabbed my heart, causing me to simply stop and stare  with tears running down my cheeks .

The only thing I would do differently if I were to go again (and will be sure to do as I tour other cathedrals) is to have my ear buds with me to be able to listen to the music that ‘goes with’ the experience.  Unfortunately others were touring the building and even though my heart ‘heard’ music, my ears were distracted by the noises around me.  I can only imagine what would happen if/when I am in a Holy place like this and am listening to music that touches my soul in that same deeply moving way.

To get a sense of what I ‘felt’, click on the link below and  listen to the music as you look at the images of the cathedrals in the video.  It can’t do justice to actually being there, but if this is the kind of thing that can touch your soul, it will be a wonderful experience.  I have been fortunate to have a facebook friend who has posted various Youtube videos during this Lenten season and they have been special gifts to me.  This video is one that he posted.

Click HERE to listen to Allegri Miserere

If this isn’t what moves your soul, I would encourage you to look until you find what does—-it can be an amazing and overwhelming experience.

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Window

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