Reading poetry, observing a painting or engaging in other fine arts or music, including prayer, are like eating an ice cream cone. If I try to figure out the ingredients, flavorings and the whys, I miss the experience of taste and momentary surrender with resulting mystery smiles, as chemical reactions happen naturally.
And, yes, I find eating ice cream cones is exactly the same process.
Silent apostles, like the paper in the Bible, carry the Word, but the pages are not the Word. They hold the ink which spells the words, but they are not the Word. Nor are they the message of the Word. The pages in the Bible are Silent Apostles.
There is another Silent Apostle among us, which again is like the paper in the Bible. It carries messages, but it is not the message. For this silent Apostle is architecture, including church architecture and all of her components, such as
structural, electrical, mechanical, roofing, interior finishes and all of their preservation needs. Always there. Always silent. Sustaining messages, but architecture, in itself, is not the message.
Defined as “Frozen Music” by Goethe, architecture, as Handel’s, Bach’s or a rapper’s music, frozen solid and silent in forms, shapes, texture and engaging spaces deliver context messages of influences and impressions, just as her melted cousin music, fluid and flowing does, but still, in itself, architecture is not the message.
Boasting architecture’s pedigree or wearing style badges are distractions from the message. Diversions from the Word, like saluting the watermark on the paper pages in the Bible. For just as the watermark is not the Word, neither is architecture, even with stripes, is not the Word or the message. She is a transporter of the message, as she looks back at us. She is a silent Apostle.
What then is the message? Architecture, in gifted hands and fertile imaginations, begins with the message as a question. What can the occupants of this facility, as audible Apostles, do with this architectural tool, to best implement this facility’s purpose? Its purpose is the message.
In a Christian church, the question becomes how can this architecture help awaken human perceptions of an awareness of God, His Son and the Holy Spirit? How can this frozen music help audible Apostles work together, to become more effective in implementing the Christian mission here?
For then the mission is the message, and this message now becomes the Message. They are now the same deeply rooted coaches for the audible Apostles, the occupants, to work together in harmony, to move forward the mission of the church.
Then, the Message and the Word walk in-step alongside the colonnade of faith and fellowship, beside the garden of growth and gratitude, where on-purpose reunions and realignments occur, like that among team-stewardship, now gathered to nurture the Message, the mission and the Word, then to ask us at any time from the portico of promises and pledges, anchored deep on its foundation of solid concrete commitment. Is RRCB now prepared to move its mission forward?
Audible Apostles, what is our answer? What is our answer?
Written by C. Page Highfill
Watercolor on Pen & Ink, Painting by C. Page Highfill
St. Stephens Basilica, Budapest Hungary