Traveling is not always for everyone.
In fact, there are many things about traveling that people find off putting.
For instance, you live out of a suitcase, eat unfamiliar foods, have to transport yourself either by train or by car in a land that is not your own, and most of the time you are surrounded by only one or two people you actually know, and if you don’t really like them, well then, traveling can be less of an adventure and more of a nightmare.
Since we have been in Ireland we have met people from Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Cork, England, Abu Dhabi, the States, and Wales. Oh and of course Ireland.
Loads of people all with adventure on their mind.
Or so they think.
Ireland is made up of people from all over seeking for a life better than what was in their home land.
Either job, marriage, refuge from war, or simply needing a new beginning. Ireland has found room for them, and opened it’s arms to them.
For me this adventure to Ireland has been more about seeing a place for what feels like the first time. I know I have been to Ireland before, but this time somehow it’s different, this time I feel… awake.
Awake as if seeing the people for the first time.
The broken, the hurting, even the way these people so easily wrap you up into their family, or take you along for the journey.
The Irish people are not a complicated group of people. Sure, they have had their complicated pasts, but they are also a people that are simple and enjoy life. Ireland is neck deep in history, mystery, and beauty. Just take a walk down Grafton Street or O’Connell Street. Step into places that James Joyce sipped tea in, or Samuel Beckett wrote in.
History is staring you in the face everywhere in Ireland. From the street signs, that are actually on buildings, to the plaques around the cities that state who did what and when. And then there are the cathedrals.
If there was ever a moment in my life that the presence of God was thick and tangible, in a way that makes you teary eyed, it would be when I walked into St. Patricks Cathedral.
When walking into the cathedral you do have to look past the hordes of people, and all of the souvenir stations, I truly get why Jesus threw tables out, and once you do you will get to the gem underneath. Mind you some days you have to look deep deep down, to get to the quiet moment away from the tourist groups and second language schools to find that small voice.
As we walked through the church, full of its monuments to men, and God, I found myself just praying that God’s presence would capture the hearts of every man, women, and child that finds their way through these ancient halls.
Although the church holds only two services a week, you can feel the prayers of the saints that have come and gone before you while sitting for a moment in Lady Chapel inside the church. Surrounded by stained glass saints, and depictions of Christ there are two windows that captured my attention.
These two windows are hidden toward the back of the church, or front depending on where you are, in a quiet corner, where you can sit and pray, or just think. I found myself drawn toward this area and found a seat in the front of the section to just sit.
That is when I spotted them.
Two windows, bookending a series of window pictures, full of elegant colors and some simple words.
But Christ is all and in all. Colossians 3:11
In a country that has been torn into many pieces by religious actions, here in their beloved St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands a statement that brought me to tears.
As I sat there reading the window over and over again a song welled up in my soul, Great is Thy Faithfulness. So sitting in a tourist filled cathedral I began to sing it. As we sang it, I glanced to the other side of the windows and saw the last window with equally simple words.
Christ in you the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
Not many times in my life have I found myself brought to silence because of the sheer beauty of a moment. But this was one of them.
God through the ages had bookended His love for these people, both foreign and domestic, in the never fading colors on a window. Someone years before now saw fit to display two simple messages for the ages to come, Christ is all and in all, and Christ in you the hope of glory. Of all the messages to have these treasured windows hold, they spoke these statements.
From now until the end of the age, they will display that Christ is in all, is all, and that nothing can take away from Him that He is exactly what He claimed to be. Beyond that lies the perfectly fitting piece, Christ in you is all the hope you need.
In a country that needs hope, as much as America does, Christ in us is that hope.
No monument to man, no amount of pleasure, nothing saved the hope that Christ offers us will bring us to a place where peace reigns.
I have decided that when I get to heaven, after I see my Nana and my sister, I would like to meet the man who made these windows. I would like to ask him if his hope was to show generations that without Christ our hope falls flat. I would like to tell him that the beauty he displayed in those windows opened my heart to a beauty I had not seen this side of heaven. A beauty that only Christ can bring. A beauty with every color imaginable, and a legacy that no man can contain.