Father Mark, Reflections

Preston, Church Architect

Preston, One of God’s Architects

I was amazed a few weeks back when one of our younger members, Preston, brought me two models of a paddle boat steamer and a cathedral which he assembled himself. Preston, as so many of our children are blessed with so many gifts and talents. I am convinced that it is our collective responsibility to intentionally do all we can to assist our children in discovering, developing and creating with their various gifts and talents. We are all “architects” of the church no matter what our age following the blueprints of our Master Designer which he has placed within us.

Spiritual architecture is a two way process. The Spirit is always about the business of shaping us into the fullness of who we truly are in his Likeness and Image. There’s a story of a stone cutter who tells a story that it takes him on the average, 100 cuts with a hammer and chisel to shape each stone to fit within the cathedral structure. The stone cutter asks the bystander, “Which of the 100 strikes with the hammer and chisel is the most important?” The bystander, puzzled, in the form of a question, says, “The first?” The stone cutter responds, “No. Every cut is equally important. If I hit the hammer too hard, the stone could split. If I don’t hit it hard enough, the appropriate cut is not made. Every cut is equally important.”

Such is the way it is with God and ourselves. Science has taught us that by the age of seven, we are “hardwired.” That is, we are conditioned by our environment and our genetics to turn into the personality that we tend to become. Each year following it can become more difficult to “change” the direction of our “wiring” which includes habits, attitudes, beliefs, and other traits that makes us what we are.

Enter Jesus, Master Electrician. Jesus moves within our “hard wiring” to continue to add extensions to our life and readjust wiring where it needs to be redirected. He does this throughout the entirety of our lives. He’s good enough to entered the tangled wiring of our souls and minds, including emotions, even after we are “hardwired.”

The quality of life we choose to build is dependent on the quality of the wiring we have received within ourselves. Perhaps this is where the word, Savior comes to play. I need the Master Electrician to refit, adjust and extend my wiring else what I attempt to construct in life will be for naught. The Hebrew understood this experience of salvation to be delivered into a wide and open space. To be confined by one’s limitations and separation (the definition of “sin”) restricts our lives, metaphorically becoming a slave to our conditioning, wounds and brokenness.

When I was younger, I went through a period where I thought that the Ten Commandments and the other “oughts” were restrictive, pinching in and restricting my life and freedom. After getting my wiring adjusted so my spiritual circuits were working properly, I realized that these Commandments and other norms were actually the way to freedom because living outside of them created so much “overload,” translated as suffering, I realized that boundaries actually serve us instead of enslave us. The caveat was that I still need the Master Electrician to do maintenance on my hard wiring to keep me from short circuiting. All this is a part of being healed and maintained by our Holy Architect so that I may function in the type of architect I’ve been created to be.

So, Preston, keep on being the Architect that you are. Those of you who know Preston, help him out once and awhile. Give him guidance and support and celebrate his creativity as you do your own. Make sure you stop by the Master Electrician for a Spiritual meter check to make sure our internal volts, amps and resistors are humming along properly. Life is so much more full and fun when all circuits are balanced.

The Life of God is yours today.

Fr. Mark