Beautiful People and Empty Churches

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By Brendan Scott

The Catholic Church in Antigua was built at the height of colonial power.  From the outside it looks grand.  It was first constructed in the 1500’s and then rebuilt in the mid 1600’s.  However it was completely destroyed when a volcano erupted just outside of Antigua in the 1700’s. If you visit the beautifully rebuilt city, you will see the front edifice of a grand old cathedral.  It’s the focal point of Antigua’s central park; its steeples still scraping the sky. For a few cents you can tour the insides of the old church.  As I walked into the ruins, the first thought that popped into my head was, I hope the people of the church, God’s church, aren’t in shambles on the inside like this old cathedral.

God calls the people who believe in him his church and as a community of believes we are the body of Christ.  A body doesn’t function well if it’s insides are all messed up.  I know this from experience.  Over the three years in Guatemala I was sick numerous times, and it sure is difficult to work when you have a fungus growing on the inside of your body.

The wrecked inside of the church was a beautiful sight.  The roof had collapsed ages ago and all the old pillars lay in piles.  It was like walking through a building that had been bombed.  While the ruins were a beautiful sight, I hope that no one ever walks into a functioning church and thinks, “wow this looks like a fall out zone.”

While these pictures show the Cathedral’s beauty, I’m sure this wasn’t how the building’s architect envisioned it looking 400 years after it was built.  And as beautiful as the people of the church may look at times I’m sure God envisions more for us each day.

Brendan lived in Guatemala for three years.  He now is living in Denver looking for education/writing jobs and is enjoying being involved in the Neighborhood Church, which is a church full of life and not empty.


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3 responses to “Beautiful People and Empty Churches

  1. Georgie-ann

    very haunting pictures!

    To me, vast creation vistas and vast cathedrals do stand as a testimony to God’s majesty and awesomeness, but “in time” nothing remains the same — (except for God’s “steadfast love!”:

    Jeremiah 33:11 ” … Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good; for His mercy and kindness and steadfast love endure forever! … “)

    But even the visual effects of the ravages of time and the elements can be awesome to contemplate as well!

    What IS the “Body of Christ?” Even our physical bodies, also subject to the effects of time, are described simply as containers:

    1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

    Is the true Body of Christ invisible to the eyes? Do we create and participate in it, when we pray, love and contemplate? How amazing is the Spirit of God that permeates us and the earth, giving perpetual testimony to the awesomeness of the Lord, and His Truth and His Ways!

    Lamentations 3:22-24

    22 “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
    23 “They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
    24 “’The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,
    ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’”

  2. Georgie-ann thank you for your insight. The passages from the bible you quoted are very helpful. We together are the body of Christ and a body cannot function if one member is not healthy. Thank you again for reading and responding.

  3. Georgie-ann

    Hi, Brendan!,…it’s been a busy couple of days, and I just shared the way your photos touched my more “mystical” side,…(the rest of me being on overload for the moment!),…I found them very inspiring, in spite of other ways one could look at them,…very grand!,…& I thank you!,…God Bless!

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