Vickie and I recently returned from a week in Western Europe. One of the highlights of this amazing trip was visiting the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain. The visionary architect Antoni Gaudi began to work on the church in 1883 and devoted the next 43 years of his life to it until his death in 1926. Sagrada Familia was not finished in his lifetime and is still under construction today. The hope is to finish the basilica in 2026 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death. I was inspired not only by this awesome structure but also by Gaudi’s faithfulness to a vision that did not come to completion during his life. It reminds me of the following passage from the book of Hebrews:
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…
During this season of Advent, a major theme is waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises. Our visit to Sagrada Familia and the passage from Hebrews remind me that faithful waiting is an essential aspect of discipleship, especially when we may not see the fulfillment of a particular promise of God in our lifetime. Yet we are called to be faithful to God’s vision of peace and wholeness (shalom) for our lives and for the whole creation. In a time and society that values instant gratification above almost anything else, I am grateful for the witnesses of Antoni Gaudi and the countless other disciples over the centuries who remained faithful to the vision of God’s calling for their lives, especially when that vision lasted longer than their own lifetimes. We can always trust in God’s faithfulness because as the writer of Hebrews also wrote:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.