...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 7:13 AM [+]
As many of my readers might feel now, I used to feel that building a church atop the tomb of Christ and lathering it over with gold and silver was just wrong. Some have felt it so wrong that they seemed fueled by that feeling to prove that it is in fact not the tomb of Christ...whatever. I used to lament that the "medieval catholics" had so adorned this holy place thereby stripping it of its simple and pristine beauty. I guess I was not at all out of line with my protestant sensibilities which yearned for simple whitewashed church walls. But, I have seen things from the "other" side now and in so doing have learned anumber of things, not this least of which is that it was NOT the "medieval catholics" who built this church!
I suppose we share this trait (at least somewhat) with our Em. Church friends who tend to want to meet at home...and though I have not fully sought discernment of their reasoning for this, I can say this much: We decorate our homes, we decorate our churches.
I think we humans have a natural propensity and yearning to decorate. I'd go as far as to say that to suppress this under some sort of religious presuppositions is absurd. I mean look at the elaborate decore commanded by God in the building of the Temple! Consider, for a moment, the pictures which are found throughout our hallway (and probably yours as well): they are testimonies to our lives, each one telling a story and reliving a precious moment in time. And we do not simply attach these pictures to the walls with duct tape (though I might have in my bachelor days), rather we decore them with frames or varied intricacy and then we stage them in some aesthetic manner. Such things are important to us, we give them care and attention. Heck, the very fact that we keep pictures at all says something about us, doesn't it?
I recall my youngest daughter used to use this terminology when asking that we take a picture of her: "Take a picture about me." There's something deep in there.
Anyway, when I look upon this tomb of our Lord today, I no longer see a waste of time and resources, rather I see an expression of love that has been poured out by many generations upon such a thing that is so profoundly important to us that it naturaly calls out in us the need to decorate. Such care and attention directs us (like the pictures on our walls) to the testimony of what happened in that tomb - the greatest thing EVER to happen.
We are people, not animals, and so we decorate.