This year I’ve had the chance to see some really old and grand cathedrals in Europe. Everything about it is really incredible – the detailed carvings, stained glass mosaics, high ceilings that are tens of stories above you.
You walk in and immediately sense the atmosphere of reverence. Either you stay silent or whisper because the sacred and solemn surroundings command respect. (And also because any sound you make would be amplified in the large hall.)
The youth room at my church is quite a contrast to these magnificent cathedrals. We have low ceilings, IKEA couches, a lamp, over-sized pillows, and a couple stuffed animals in the mix. It’s cozy and like a living room, probably similar some rooms of your own church.
Two very different places, both places of worship. The cathedral well represents the transcendence of God – He is far above and unlike us, and so purely holy that it should evoke reverence and awe in us. Sitting on a pew in a huge antique church reminds me of how God is high and lifted up, infinitely greater than me, and inspires the fear of the Lord and worship of His greatness.
The youth room reflects the immanence of God – He is a personal God who stoops down from heavenly majesty to earth to become human and to identify with us. He is present in our daily lives and acquainted with all our ways. Sitting on a couch in our youth room reminds me that God is entirely relevant and real today, not distant and impersonal. It inspires a response of relationship and trust.
The church is a place of worship and reverence. The church is a place of family and community. God is infinitely high. God is incredibly near. Praise and worship Him!