Written by Simon Porter
As I take the path to the entrance of the cathedral, I already sense the anticipation of entering the beauty of such soaring architecture and enjoying the stillness and wonder of this place. You see, I am very blessed living so close to what I think is one of the most spectacular cathedrals, although others would probably think I am biased!
Very soon after I have walked out of my door, I am already approaching the beginning of this sacred space. As I enter, I gaze upwards at the soaring columns with their strong arms outstretched towards the heavens. It seems that they must have been designed for no other purpose but to give praise to God. I love the variety of each structure and how they all seem to blend together organically. Their smaller branches spread out to create the perfect ceiling that in a month or three will be coated with a variety of fresh bright green leaves that annually remind us of the miracle of new birth and fresh beginnings. Here will be a scene that can be more amazing than the best of ceilings painted by man however good he may be.
This is only one section of this great cathedral. This is like the nave, the central body of the building, and as I walk along the grassy strip through the centre of this wood, I am already feeling God so very close. The understory of the wood is like thousands of worshippers filling this arena, all with one intent, which is to glorify God. I sense his immediacy as though he is in every tree, bush and twig and is calling out for me to walk further and deeper with him. But then of course he is in every substance of what he has created, so I should not be surprised! I cannot feel alone because I know God is very present in this place of worship. Then, as the deer pauses motionless in the centre of the wide grassy strip watching my approach, I see its gracefulness and I wonder again at the beauty that I find in God and realise that every spectacular part of creation just reflects God himself.
Now I have left the nave and am walking along an aisle. The tall oaks beside me standing in a line are sentinels to God’s faithfulness and provision. They are strong and impervious to storm and drought, while giving shelter and sustenance to whoever flies to rest on their arms. The track bends around another little copse of trees hiding some water, and like a quiet chapel it reminds me of the freshness that we can find in meeting and walking with God every day. He never fails to be present and to walk through this spiritual place with me morning by morning. He must chuckle at the days when I am so unconscious of him but engaged, sometimes foolishly, sorting in my head matters that concern my day ahead instead of trusting him to continue to provide.
The crossing of this cathedral is a little bridge and now I head back in the direction of my home and leave the shelter of the trees and wood. Perhaps this could be described as the transept because it leads me onwards to open land. As I gaze around it seems to become an altar to God. The sun is just emerging into full view as brilliant pale orange pulsating fire, clothing everything in the sky in a beautiful washed pink hue. The buzzard lazily flaps his way across the sky and, like us, is secure in the freedom that he has been given.
The sharp frost is nature’s winter answer to reflecting God’s glory and has clothed the grass and wheat with every blade having its own crown of white splendour. As the sun continues to rise quickly in the sky, the frosty ground now glistens and becomes like a carpet of jewels reflecting some greater glory and person. I stop and gaze across the white fields and bright blue sky and realise I am standing at an altar of God. I worship and wonder at such splendour represented in this wondrous cathedral that is reflecting majesty and glory. Then I realise that the real altar is present in my heart and life and that somehow almighty God inhabiting the heavens and earth has chosen to live within my frailty like the most beautiful precious jewel wrapped in a rough paper bag! Truly, the glory of his presence is here in this wonderful cathedral of many acres. I walk on content and complete knowing I am not alone, forgotten or disadvantaged in any way because all of us can become one with the One who is present in such grandeur.
The above excerpt is taken from the book Heaven On Earth, written by Simon Porter.
It is available from Amazon.