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The View from Here

Italian Holiday

The View from Here

Lana Hawk

I’ve said this before, but I love anything and everything that has a history and a story. There is just something about seeing a building or a piece of furniture that has been around for hundreds of years. It makes me think about the stories it could tell if it could talk. Who sat there? Who worked hours on hours to complete the building? Who designed it? Why was it created? So many questions and not very many answers. Europe allows me to completely immerse myself in those stories. I may not always get an answer to my questions, but I love looking and dreaming. I mean, go to Bath, England, and imagine Romans using the baths that are still there. Go to a castle anywhere in Europe and imagine life for everyone from the royal/noble family to the servants serving them. If only those walls could talk. They would probably tell a story similar to Downton Abbey. Let’s be honest, that is my view of English nobility in the early 20th Century. Isn’t it yours?

In the midst of all the history and questions and stories is one that continually pops into my head about churches. Are those churches still alive with the love of Jesus? Do people really go and worship in those churches? These churches are stunning works of art and architecture. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, they are stunning. The truth is, I will never really know the heart of the people that continually visit them. But, in my travels to these old, stunning churches there are a few things I see.

  • First off, they are unbelievable accomplishments for any and all who helped build them. How some of these were built before cranes and motorized equipment, I will never truly understand.
  • These beautiful buildings are the definition of precise. From the details to the precise angles needed to keep them upright for 100’s of years. Precision.
  • Stunning doesn’t begin to describe them. The way the light filters in, the beauty of the stained glass or mosaics, the commissioned art displayed, the floors, and oh the ceilings.

Yes the ceilings! In every old church I have visited in Europe, my eyes are always drawn up. The grandeur of the churches and the details and the precision all bring my gaze upwards. This rarely happens in my daily life (maybe it should more often), but those churches always lock me in. Despite what I may or may not think about the hearts of the people, those churches were built in a way that drew the people and their eyes towards God. Even if just for a second, my eyes were focused on things above. Isn’t that the goal of church and fellowship and Jesus? Focus our gaze, attention, and heart on things above. That’s why I love old churches because I can be quiet, be still, and focus my attention, for a brief moment, on something that matters. Pictures below show the reality of my obsession with pictures of ceilings and churches and things of old. It’s a serious problem. Also, these are just a few from our most recent overseas adventure. This doesn’t even include the unbelievable splendor of places like Westminster Abbey, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Matthews in Venice. Seriously, I’m obsessed. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

If you’ve never experienced this beauty in person, here are a few photos to give you a taste.