1 Cor 3:10-11, 16-17
July 13, 2008

The spire of this cathedral is the highest in England. It was added many decades after the initial building was complete. While it may be inspiring to look at, the word spire has a different root – it means a stalk or shoot, like a plant springing up. And, like a plant, in order to stand tall it has to be well-rooted. One of the marvels of this place is that the foundations here are quite shallow – only four feet deep – and one of the happy accidents is that the whole of this place rests on a deep bed of gravel, a natural foundation of rocks. Like Jacob’s pillow and Jesus’ bed in the garden, God was here preparing a place before anyone thought to build here.

Paul talks about that gift as grace, though in his case, he is far more conscious and aware of grace at work. He notes that each of us is meant to build on the grace that God has given us in Jesus, and that the temples we are can only grow up into their full stature and blessedness if we build on that strong and humble foundation.

Being human means knowing ourselves as creatures of the earth. And being truly and fully human means knowing that we are created to be temples of holy spirit. We’re going to pray in a few minutes for this cathedral church, named for Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was human temple for God in a most particular and conscious way. Yet our journey is the same – to welcome the divine into our own human tent, to become vessel of the divine, which any wanderer may recognize as sacrament and sign that “God is in this place” and “God is in this relationship.”