The new Cathedral exterior has taken shape wonderfully, and it’s truly inspiring to be able to see it in (almost) all its glory now that the scaffold and netting are gone. The finishing touches to the exterior and the courtyard restoration work are on temporary hold due to rain, and will resume as soon as we get a couple of weeks' dry weather.
This is a good time to pause and consider all we’ve accomplished, and remember why we’re engaged in this great work. The first time I was in an Orthodox church (I’m a convert) someone explained how each of the elements of the physical building was tied to one of our human senses (ikons for our vision, incense for our sense of smell, etc.). He further explained that the purpose was both to remind us of our spirituality and to help us to directly feel the presence of the Divine. So all the splendid decorations and elaborate services serve a very practical purpose.
Our new Cathedral will serve this purpose beautifully. It will be a gracefully imposing space, which we can already see as its exterior nears completion. Inside, it will be harmoniously filled with air and light, much like Yosemite Valley or any other place of great natural beauty. And in this way, it will be more than just a refuge from the bustling world literally outside its doors, though it will provide that. It also will embody the Divine Presence to all who enter, and invite us to encounter God directly in our prayers and worship, not only inside the edifice, but in our daily lives. (Even though it’s still incomplete, all who enter it already feel God’s presence.) And, of course, it will be a beacon to passersby, inviting them to come and see for themselves.
While we’ve come a very long way since the first asphalt was taken up, we still have some distance to go to fulfill the promise of this work. So this really is a time of rest and renewal. We are creating something truly amazing, not only for ourselves, but for all who will come after. This pause point can be our opportunity to renew our commitment to see it completed.
“Look,” he said. “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” - Acts 7:56 – Ken Katen