Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Country Full of Empty Churches:

I went to Catholic Mass in the third largest Gothic Cathedral in the world today.
It's only about a fifteen minute walk from where I live.
I kind of can't believe that.

La Misa de la Catedral de Sevilla, España.

Immense columns hold up the church's ceilings- lofted by arches and ornately decorated. A small gathering of people assembled in a couple dozen pews that face an altar and a wall of gold. An altar stood blanketed in white, in front of the wall of sculptures portraying the life of Christ.

The Priest stood. The people stood. Then kneeled. Then stood again. There were no hymnals or books or any things of the sort. There was a huge cross hanging above it all, the image of Christ suffering on it.

The parishioners and Priest took turns reciting the memorized service. Then there was a sermon.

My Spanish is improving, I really think it must be. I'm pretty sure I would have been able to understand a lot of the sermon, that is, if I hadn't been so distracted by all of this...

It was kind of nice though. I mean, I love to listen to a good Law/Gospel Sermon, but this building reflects God's grandeur. It shows his power. I let the Spanish phrases slide across my mind and just reveled in his creation. He is our everlasting fortress, holding us until he comes again, just as the stone has lasted to house his worshipers for centuries,

God loves old things, beautiful things, ornate things, but mostly he loves human-things.

There are a lot of churches in Sevilla. Every plaza practically has one (and there are a lot of plazas). When I first toured the Catedral earlier this week, the guide told us that though the building is huge, it never has many worshipers at Mass. Spain is a very secular society. You can see that in advertisements and commercials and in the lifestyles of the people as well. Why aren't there more Christian missionaries focused on urban or Western nations?

I live with an older, more traditional, more conservative Señora who goes to Mass every week. I think it's a blessing probably to live with Consuelo. I have so much to be thankful for here. In a foreign culture, there are still people who know the Sacrifice that Jesus has born on the cross for them. Brothers and sisters, thanking God for his forgiveness of sins and receiving Holy Communion. As the semester goes on, I'm sure I'll have more insights and stories about religion in Spain. Right now, it seems like this is a Country full of empty Churches. I am thankful just to walk inside of them and remember that he crossed the ocean with me earlier this month.

Also- I'm praying for you.


  1. It was weird how empty it was. I think more people attended San Jacinto last week. But then again, there were 4 other services today and 5 yesterday as well. Anywho, I'm curious to see what the Lutheran church is like. I like your insights into mass today. Glad we could share this, chica!

  2. I really enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Have you seen any non-Catholic churches so far?

  4. This is so awesome! I love the picture of the cathedral. I hope you're able to listen to one of their sermons sometime. I miss you so much Liz and it's so good to know that our God is the God of the whole world. Not just the United States.

  5. Yes, Cait, I will, don't worry. Lol. It was just nice to be in a church as a Christian, not as a tourist. The pictures don't do the building justice.

    I have heard of a Protestant church in my barrio, Triana, but I haven't actually seen any non-Catholic churches. There are different ministries at the college, some Protestant and a mormon one, and there is a Lutheran church that meets twice a month on the other side of the city. It's a new church that rents a building. Kelly and I are going to try to go sometime though. I may try one of the Protestant church next week!