If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my (over)use of the title to this post.
It started when the London office of my old employer moved from next to the BT Tower, to right beside Borough Market – sarf of the river.
To try and up the step count/heart points, rather than get the Northern Line from King’s Cross to London Bridge – the nearest tube stop to the office – I would walk. To take in Gray’s Inn Road and Holborn, before turning right at St Paul’s and crossing the river.
It’s hard not to be entranced by the majesty of the building. Forget religious fervour or faith based euphoria. The real reason to love the building is how great it looks from all angles. From the double height columns on the facade and the length of the building housing the aisles, galleries and crypts. To the dome you can see from various viewing points across the city. It almost makes it worth crossing the river and standing on the Southbank, just to look northwards.
My love of a good church extends well beyond a commute to work.
Trips to Rome have meant taking in the very best churches catholicism has to offer. If St Paul was out converting Londoners through the work of Sir Christopher Wren, St Pete’s Basilica offers the rock by which the likes of Michelangelo and Bernini drew pilgrims from far and wide.
Lest we forget my favourite building in the world (when it’s not the British or Natural History Museums) – the Panethon, which also passes as a church when the tourists aren’t flocking through the doors.
When visiting Paris we had Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur to fill our eyes and hearts with wonder. Sicily boasted the Duomo in Syracuse. Even on my trips to Vercelli it’s hard not to catch sight of the city’s own cathedral.
I try to go in to the buildings when we are there. If the outsides are captivating, the insides hold even further delights. From stain glassed windows, ornate sculptures and structures that take the eye and the heart towards, well, skywards – if not to heaven.
A church is a focal point of a location. It may still be a place for quiet prayer and reflection, but for some of us, the true reflection lies in our unwavering fascination with the people behind such a building. Not the priest or the bishops, but the architects, stone masons and carpenters. They really are deserved of our worship. The buildings their alters.
I guess, in many ways, it always comes back to the work of the carpenter – which ever way you look at it.