Monday, November 10, 2008

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!

Burr...it's cold this morning! I heard this morning on a political talk show, during a weather segment, that the wind chill in Atlanta was 28 degrees. WOW. The only suggestion I have is to look at this in a positive light, as an ushering in of the coming Holiday season. Winter isn't so bad until after Christmas and New Year's...so let's think about how wonderful December can be! (We'll deal with January when it comes...and who knows, maybe you find January to be one of the most enjoyable months of the year.)

Anyways...onto a short Monday reflection.

Yesterday, the Roman Catholic Church celebrated the "Dedication of Saint John Lateran." Up until yesterday, I would have no clue what that meant. What it is, for those of you who, like myself, would not know the meaning of such a dedication, is a feast day that celebrates the building of the Lateran Basilica erected by Emperor Constantine way back in 324 A.D. Constantine...that's right...the dude who legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. The church is considered the "mother church of Christendom." So what? That's what my response would be. It's just a building.

Some will say that that building allows people to worship God, to show love for the Creator, to show love to Jesus Christ through prayer and liturgy. Moreover, others might say that the building shows Christianity transforming from the early house churches to a widely public display of religion. A priest gave a homily yesterday that brought up an interesting point. He said that sometimes he feels that the church might have been better off by staying more underground. Obviously, we can't turn the clock back and change the course of history. By the Roman Empire accepting Christianity, the world officially became exposed to the message of Jesus Christ. However, that message was twisted and altered at times, for people to get what they wanted, not what God might have wanted. Wars, crusades, killing. All in the name of Jesus Christ. It was hypocritical and the absolute antithesis of the gospel Christ brought to the world.

And yet, the building was built to worship, to love God. The building was an attempt for people to build a holy place, a holy ground. Maybe the church would have been more peaceful, more true historically to the teachings of Christ if it had stayed underground. But it didn't. And now, it is our job, if we are Christians, to show the world that, though the church is obviously grounded in this world, it can still have underground tendencies at the grassroots level. That is, we can show people that the gospel doesn't require large flashy basilicas or extravagant dress or loud organs or well-trained choirs or large institutions. These things don't run counter to the gospel, they can work with the gospel...if they are always true to the gospel.

gospel with a small "g"...I'm referring to spreading peace, love, being understanding of others. Showing your neighbor that Christ or God comes down to a person to person relationship. Basilicas, churches, places of worship are good...if and only if they bring people closer to God and to each other, and if and only if they help people to leave the building and spread Good News.


peace and with love,

your friend bob : )


PS - try not to freeze today! Drink plenty of hot chocolate, hot tea, coffee~

1 comment:

ML said...

You article: “The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica” is the vision of the Church that we need in the 21st century - community of people which is rooted in the Gospels – the Good News full of hope, faith and most of all LOVE. The Church that is able to be transparent and not look for privileges. But also, a community of people that understands who they are and what they need and what they do not need and where they go. The only way that we can achieve that is in being able to see Christ in anyone without any exceptions.

ml