Old churches speak of Christ much more than today’s churches do. Whether they still believe in Him or not I don’t know, but the architecture of the past seems to proclaim a much more gracious, benevolent God, rich in mercy. Todays churches don’t proclaim much of anything. Some church buildings tell us that they have a God of austerity, seeking to punish any pleasure. Some are like auditoriums which fits in with the shows they put on, as opposed to worship services. Some churches see worship as a gymnasium and teach the people that they go to church to exercise their faith in order to show God they love Him. In these churches God is the audience, approving or not, on how hard the folks work themselves up into a self-absorbed frenzy of praise. But there is nothing anyone can do for God. He is entirely self-sufficient and satisfied, needing nothing.
Worship is better seen as a hospital. We, the walking wounded, come to be healed. We walk through the red doors, signifying the shed blood of Christ. We are full of sin, our own and others, and are in need of forgiveness. Christ is the actor in worship, the doctor, we are receivers. He forgives all of our sin freely, since He paid for them all. The only thing we can do after that is say thank you. We say after the Lord’s Supper, “Let us bless the Lord! Thanks be to God.”
Then we return to a fallen world and pass this gracious forgiveness along to others.
Church architecture of the past seemed to be filled with intricate glorious designs that speak of a great God that is rich in forgiveness for very needy people.
I love seeing these churches and I know in Whom I believe.