Lover's of God
By Linda Cornett-Ching
My Family and I just got back from a trip to Austria. Those that have had the privilege of visiting Europe will appreciate when I say I am simply in awe of the time worn feeling of the country. We as Canadians have no comprehension of "old". We toured many Cathedrals and various places and words cannot express the beauty and sense of history of that captivating place.
One evening we were treated to a private concert by The "Mozart Ensemble" four musicians from the Vienna chamber music. They were dressed in period costumes. They played a selection of works by Hayden, Schubert, Beethoven, and especially Mozart. The room where the concert was given was called the "Sala Terrena". Even Mozart gave concerts here and the acoustics were glorious.
Another evening we had dinner at St. Peter's Stiftskeller, where we enjoyed a Mozart dinner concert. The menu is based on historical recipes and the musicians and singers were again in period costumes. It was an enjoyable and hilarious evening as they interacted with the audience while they performed various Mozart opera pieces. The style of the evening was 1790 but the building itself was constructed in 803! We saw the birth place of Mozart in Salzburg. Austria is known for its cemeteries. Even there I was taken aback by the grand tombs, crypts and sculptures. We toured the graves of Brahms, Strauss, Schubert, and Beethoven. I was touched by the people of Vienna and Salzburg who obviously embrace and love their heritage of classical music, art, architecture and of course the Alps.
My husband treated me to an evening concert of Mozart's Requiem at the beautiful St. Charles Cathedral. I was completely transported into another world. I sat quietly taking it all in trying to follow not only the Latin, the music but the etiquette. As Canadians who are very polite and applaud after every song, I was taken aback when not a sound could be heard not only between each piece but during the entire hour long performance. I felt like they all knew the script and I was missing the rules. I was particularly moved by one gentleman who had tears streaming down his face the entire performance. Then suddenly the entire place erupted into thunderous applause. It was an evening I will long treasure.
The Cathedrals were so astonishingly magnificent. Stift Melk is a Benedictine abbey that was founded in 1089 high above the city of Melk. The monks still serve there to this day. It was by far the most profound experience for me. I have never seen anything so beautiful nor felt the Holy presence of God in such a real way in any building before. My mouth literally dropped open when we entered the church itself. I was overcome with tears. I encourage you to look it up online and if you ever visit Vienna it is worth the time to go see. The Abbey has a museum and a library that for any book lover was an absolute dream.
As we move away from religion and our society becomes anti-God I am simply trying to comprehend a time in history where a community’s sole driving force would be to build a church, that men would dedicate their entire lives and beyond to building such massive structures simply to worship God in. The entire town would have centered around this purpose. If you didn't work on the church then perhaps your livelihood was made to provide food, clothing, or supplies to the men and women working there. Perhaps you were a farmer, a stone mason or a blacksmith? All the art work, gold, paintings, candlesticks, challises, robes and statues and many other things that went into building these incredible churches, were staggering to think about.
In every church I asked the Lord "did they love you here?" I heard Him say "Yes, they did. There were great atrocities yes, but there were many who loved me." It was interesting to sit in some of the pews. They were very hard and built with a 90 degree angle. In one cathedral the pews were not only straight up and down but the pew even had a ledge built along the top of the bench that pushed you forward and dug into your back. I truly got the sense that they felt they had to suffer a bit for their faith. We were told the beautiful decorations, gold, and art work was to invite God to come and dwell in their midst. It made me think about the first temple built for God by Solomon. As incredibly stunning as these places are our hearts are even more beautiful to God. They are not made of marble, stone and gold. Our hearts are alive and carry the living God when we ask him in.
I'm so thankful that Jesus died and rose again not only to set me free from sin but so that my heart may be a dwelling place for His presence. Ephesians 3:17 Amplified Bible (AMP) "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love."
I'm thankful that Jesus set me free from the old law of works and rules to earn my way to heaven. Romans 7:6 NIV "But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit."
Jesus set me free from having to suffer some form of physical punishment to show myself worthy. Romans 8:2 NIV "because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."
The law and works is a burden too large to carry. Psalm 68:19 NET Bible
"The Lord deserves praise! Day after day he carries our burden, the God who delivers us. (Selah)"
Psalm 55:22 New Living Translation
"Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
The cathedrals were lovely to look at. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing such enthralling sights but I'm just so thankful that He lives in my heart and offers me grace, mercy and freedom to walk with Him every day. That Jesus forgives me when I do wrong and He picks me up when I fall. That His Holy Spirit is there to guide me and comfort me.
If you don't know Him I invite you today to ask Him into your heart and begin an adventure of your own. You will never be alone again. Acts 4:12 ESV "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For those who have walked with the Lord a while and feel like your prayers are hitting the ceiling like those domed roofs I saw. I invite you to ask Papa for a fresh infilling of His Holy Spirit. Psalm 21:2 Amplified Bible "You have given him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips." He will grant you your heart's desire.
I found Him in a new way in those old places, discover Him again in your lives. Psalm 150:1-2 NIV "Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness."