If you’re visiting Oxford, that “city of dreaming spires,” be sure to walk within these hallowed walls and enjoy the magnificence of Christ Church Cathedral, the chapel of Oxford University’s Christ Church College and a splendid Romanesque/Gothic church dating back to the time of Henry VIII. Although I worship in a rather simple church, I savor the sense of reverence and the grandeur of these mammoth monuments built to express the glory of Godand cause us as pilgrims through this world to pause and reflect on his majesty. The beautiful stained glass windows were designed to teach the biblical stories for the commoners, who could not read (back in 1160) and had no access to the holy scriptures. As we enjoyed remembering the stories from the Bible and pondering the messages in God’s Word, I reflected on 2 Peter 3:18, which was my home schooling motto: “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” What was Christ Church Cathedral trying to proclaim? Perhaps the greatest lesson is the centrality of Christ, who was the Word made flesh, who dwelt among us, taught us, lived a sinless life, and died in our place so that we can be forgiven for our sins, reconciled to God, and become new creations “born again” to become channels of goodness to the praise of his glory. The tiles underfoot reminded us of the character traits God desires us to exhibit, such as temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude…all virtues that He will develop within us as we surrender our wills to him and abide in Christ.There are also plaques to remind us of the church fathers and the lives they lived. Wesley wrote 6,000+ hymns, such as “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” His passion was to take the gospel to the people who lived too far from churches to come regularly…including America! The stained glass windows also spoke of the patriarchs. Samuel taught, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). Young David fought the giant whom all Israel feared, proclaiming, “This day will the LORD deliver you into my hand…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:46).In the New Testament, we learn from “Doubting Thomas” that Jesus is indeed both “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Like young Timothy, we too need to know that “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” (I Timothy 1:5).Beautiful paneled windows call us to live with hope, love, and faith. “And now abide faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) The contrast between light and darkness spoke to me of 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Walk in the light…both when we are within the hallowed walls of our churches and after we leave and go outside into the world. No matter where we are, we can continue to follow Jesus, for he said, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
- On Joy
- On Faith
- Rise Up, My Love (33): Who is the Rose and the Lily?
- The Armstrong Archives (33): Spring Flying By
- Springtime along Kensington’s Deer Run Trail
- On Being a Mother
- Rise Up, My Love (32): The Nature of Cedar and Fir
- The Armstrong Archives (32): Easter Joy and Mother’s Day Flop
- D.U.I. of the D.I.A.
- Thank You, Mr. Washington