Last month my husband George and I went on a grand adventure. We took a cruise up the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel, stopping at various places along the way to see the sights and sample the local culture and cuisine. The weather was cold, but not cold enough to prevent our exploring parts of Europe we’d never seen. The scenery was beautiful, and we visited dozens of windmills, castles, forts, and cathedrals. The food was spectacular, both onboard ship and in the local restaurants— where we dined on wiener schnitzel almost every day!
One of the things I most enjoyed about our trip was visiting the many places of worship included on our itinerary. It gives one pause to think that at one time in their history, the people of Europe were so committed to their Christian faith that they invested such enormous amounts of their time and energy and resources to erect those beautiful sacred buildings to the glory of God, not just in the cities of Cologne and Heidelberg and Strasbourg, but in every little village dotting the Rhine.
While it is lamentable from a faith perspective to realize that many of these places of worship are now attended by very few people or have been repurposed to house museums or shops, their existence still bears testimony to persistent faith of those who built them. The stonemasons who laid the foundation of the cathedral in Cologne in 1248 may not have known that that great church would not be completed until 1880, but they would certainly have been aware that their children and grandchildren, and even their great- grandchildren, would not see the completion of that great edifice. Yet they labored on with faith that what they were doing was to the glory of God and would someday reach completion, no matter who sat on the throne or what direction history would take.
As we head into November and anticipate the upcoming elections and the many changes that will be taking place amongst our local and national leadership, I am grateful for the witness of those who have gone before us in the faith, and for the testimony of Scripture, that no matter what changes happen we serve a God who is faithful and whose purpose for us is unfailing. As the psalmist says, we will not fear though the earth change or the mountains shake, for God is our refuge. Our security lies not in who holds office but in the One who holds history in his hands and calls us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with him, no matter what.