The Only Thing You Need To Be Free (No, really.)

I have never been a fan of religious edifices, no matter how elaborate. But I was reminded of something absolutely critical while I toured an old cathedral in Spain...

My wife and I were touring the Basilica De La Sagrada Familia—a magnificent cathedral that stands as the bold centerpiece of Barcelona, Spain.

I found out that Antoni Gaudí, the man who began a forty-year construction project in the late 1800’s, grew up as a young craftsman in his father’s workshop. Not unlike Jesus the craftsman’s son.

Gaudí’s architectural wonder was designed to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ in stone and glass. Sculptured narratives of the life of Christ adorn the exterior and a rainbow of streaming color engulfs the massive interior. For people of his day, it meant people who could not read still had a chance to experience the story of the Gospel.

Gaudí never suggests that God is in the building. His intention was to create a natural environment where seekers were inspired to contemplate God’s presence. That was my experience. As I walked into this masterpiece, it’s colossal pillars and spires lifted my spirit upward. The kaleidoscope of natural color flooded my soul. There was awe and peace in the air.

Then I noticed the one and only front and center icon in the vast space. A golden parasol suspended from a vaulted dome crowned a beautiful, life-size carving of a crucifix. As an evangelical, I’ve always preferred the metaphor of the empty cross. But the centrality of this figure arrested my attention. Everything about this stunning structure was pointing to one thing, one idea: Jesus Christ.

Surrounded by his stunning work of art, I couldn't ignore Gaudí's point because of my personal preference. His message was far more important: there is only one thing that can free us from ourselves: the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Paul said, “we preach Christ crucified.” (1 Cor. 1.23) The cross is the one source of our freedom and fellowship with the Father. It's that simple, but it is so easy to forget.

Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Gaudí

Pastor Terry Inman

Fremont, CA