Looking up can result in bird poo in one’s eye.
But it can also remind one of the great expanse beyond the church. Looking up can be a gentle reminder that it is not about the church. It is about God.
We love the church only because it is, we believe, the body of Christ. Jesus ascended says our dogma. So Jesus’ body is not here.
Jesus cannot physically join me for a cup of coffee. But a friend from church can.
Jesus cannot physically go for a drive with me. But a friend from church can.
Jesus cannot fight with me and then work hard to stay in relationship. But a friend from church can.
Jesus shows up in the mystery of the Eucharist. How Jesus shows up in the Eucharist is still a matter of debate – a debate usually won in church with power and a debate which has caused more pain and suffering than any other conversation in the history of humanity. The church should be ashamed of its history.
But Jesus also shows up when a loving, kind person asks me if I am alright in the hallway between the chapel and the kitchen. And what I find odd is that outside the walls of the church people are kind to me as well. Atheists are kind to me. Agnostics are kind to me. Hindus are kind to me. And some anglicans are kind to me. And some are just arrogant and mean. So what does that mean?
I think it means that if we look past the church to God, we will be able to find our way. Making the church into a fetish or a god is how we Christians tend to so easily loose our way. Thinking the church is the only way, or the most important thing, or the only means by which God is working is what I find so creepy.
Tonight the vestry, staff and chapter of the cathedral will meet on a mountain for conversations. We will pray together. We will worship the living God together. We will imagine new and slightly scary ways of being together and imagining life in our church together. I hope we will look past the stones and into the cosmos. And if we do, the stones will live.