Dave Long linked to this post today
It made me think and want to write. So here I go -
For many years I was a lapsed Catholic. Having been raised in all the tenets of The Church, having tried to do all the right things, say all the right prayers, keep all the right ordinances, I left it, convinced I just wasn't good enough for God.
Then one day a friend blew his head off with a shotgun. My neighbour's baby drowned in the river that ran past my door. My friend's husband fell out of his canoe and was swept away. And all that I thought was safe and secure crumbled when I tried to reach for it.
My husband sought the answers first, and in seeking them found more questions, but also found the God of his childhood. I was afraid to look again. Afraid He still wouldn't let me find Him. But I took a risk one day, overlooking the Stewart River in the Yukon, and asked Him to show Himself. He laughed. Then He gave me my heart's desire - the baby the 'experts' said I would never have. And my heart melted as I moved into a culture of faith, a community of believers.
As I learned the truth in His word, I became angry at The Church. They'd lied to me. So I thought. It was all their fault. It was easy to lay the blame at the foot of that altar.
Flash forward twenty years or so - I found myself holding the portfolio of Communications for our church's association. They paid my way to Montreal for the national conference and I found myself in a nunnery. Once housing seven hundred women of God, it was reduced to hotel status with a small wing left for the aged Sisters of Charity still in residence. I passed the statues of the virgin on my way to breakfast, glanced sidelong at the portraits of Christ pointing to his heart, exposed. I tried to be angry but only felt sad. I smiled and said "Bon matins," to the nuns. When I passed the chapel one evening and heard them singing I had to hold myself back from walking through the doors. It shocked me that I still wanted to be with them.
Then one night we were invited to go to the Notre Dame Cathedral at the heart of the old city. There was a "light show" there, we were told. We sat in the old pews, heard a lecturer describe the building of the Cathedral as portions of it were lit around us. The sculpture, the art, the richness of history, and yes, of faith, left me breathless. But it was when the screen we'd been watching suddenly folded back to reveal the altar that my heart almost stopped. It gleamed, shone, soared toward the heavens, and in the silence forced our eyes to look up. Look up and behold our God.
I sat still as people around me began to leave. Our host announced we were welcome to draw near for a closer look. My husband took my hand and we walked toward the altar. I kept my eyes raised until we were standing directly in front of it. Then I saw The Lamb.
Carved in bas relief, He sat on the throne with the multitudes around Him. Angels covering their faces with their wings, angels hovering above and around, saints throwing down their crowns, saints bowing. The multitude worshiping. And at the centre, The Lamb.
"Look," I whispered to my husband. "Look."
And I wept there, in that Catholic cathedral, because I had found Him, once again. I wept because He had chosen to reveal Himself to me in a place where I was convinced He could not be found. He restored my heritage to me, its richness, its beauty, its essential truth. At the centre, The Lamb.