Displacing the Sacred

By October 3, 20192019

One of my favourite activities in Europe has been adventuring into the many cathedrals and churches and simply breathing in the beauty and the spirituality that has infused these places of worship for hundreds of years. Because of this I was greatly looking forward to visiting the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. After receiving our tickets and waiting in line we went through a security check that was stricter than the airport we went through a couple days later! As soon as we walked into the main sanctuary I was awestruck by the stain glass windows and the incredible interior that had been under construction for the past 100 years. Surrounded by such majesty I should have been happy to take it in as usual, however, something felt strange to me. The visitors walking around me seemed more preoccupied with ensuring they captured the perfect photograph and documenting the fact that they were there instead of experiencing the beauty around them. The selfies and posed photographs were at an all time premium and I found myself becoming more and more frustrated as I wandered around getting bumped and jostled by tourists. The question that became very prominent in my mind – and has continued to be a source of reflection and wrestling for me – was: Have we displaced the sacred to make room for tourism and entertainment? Do these people know what they are experiencing, or is there a sense in which they can be impacted even without full knowledge of the truth, goodness, and beauty they are encountering?

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