A Visit to Goudi's Church in Barcelona

To move from sitting in Iona Abbey to be standing in The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada in Barcelona all within a few days is quite an overwhelming experience. To stand on a boat and view the simplicity of The Abbey on Iona and then to stand in Goudi's amazing unfinished church which seeks to emulate the shear awe and majesty of a medieval cathedral for me opened my mind to all kinds of questions. What do you say when you enter a building that has been under construction for over. Hundred years. The immense scale if this projects just cannot be taken in all at once. Here is a sacred space in the making and it needs trucks and cement and noise and men in hard hats. And at least 2.8 million tourist every year all moving around in the very space that one day will be filled with worshippers to help complete this Herculean task. And whose to say that all the noise and glamour of this generation is less worthy to be called worship than that if the opening consecration service when ever it is. Gaudi was once asked how long it was going to take to complete. His reply was to the effect that since his client was God he didn't operated within the same time constraints as we do. Moving round this amazing work site knowing it was started 100 years ago and it could take another 100 to complete it since it is only 50% complete got me thinking about the contrast all this is to modernity. We live in a world of instant everything including instant church. Here is an amazing lesson for all of us . Some things take time to complete and it's perhaps a challenge to all of us to be willing to start something for God that another generation will see through. Maybe we in the church have bought into the shirt termism of politics. Politicans often make decisions that are too short sighted because their thinking on the next election. Anyway I was moved to think that here was a project that is still under construction some 84 years after the main architect has died. And I was also Challenged to continue to see that all of us are called to continue to build aspects if the Kingdom of God that we might never see. Here's a thought what long term commitments will you support even if you know it might never be completely finished during your time on this earth? Is it the peace movement? Is it the whole ecology thing? Is it investing your financial wealth perhaps making it clear in your will that your money is going to serve God's purposes even if you never see the final results.

Posted By: Italker   On: 14 Jan 2014   At: 10:07pm

Thanks Barry for your comment. I forgot that I had written this article while on the move in Barcelona a few years ago.


Posted By: Barry Jones   On: 14 Jan 2014   At: 9:35pm

LIke you, I’m not sure whether I like Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral though I have only seen it in pictures. We grew up with a simple parish church actually designed by my grandfather. I tend toward simplicity and minimalism in design.


Posted By: italker   On: 29 Nov 2010   At: 3:15pm

i’ll check it out


Posted By: Jim S.   On: 29 Nov 2010   At: 12:02pm

Hello Albert,

December’s ‘National Geographic’ has a very interesting article on this church.

Hope all is well.


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