top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert John Andrews

Poems: How Do You Build A Cathedral?

How do you build a cathedral?

Stone by stone by stone

Where’s the reliquary?

Housing a martyr’s bones

Come on bended knee

Best form is cruciform

An altar and bishop’s chair

Sinners be warned

Reprobates beware

Heaven’s sublime holiness is here

Priest recites: Hoc est corpus meum

Let the worthy righteous come near

Earning the downstairs mausoleum

Flying buttress by flying buttress

Towers rise where transept meets nave

Chiseling the wonders of Gothic excess

Gargoyles and angels observe each age

Visit those little chapels along the walls

Reserved spaces for private religion

Like personal sacramental stalls

Minus the cutting covenant of circumcision

No sanctuary pews ever needed

The congregants are welcome to stand

Bibles too are essentially unheeded

Just listen to the mass as Pope commands

Statues abundant to venerate

Stations of the Cross for devotions too

Kneelers and rails that separate

Joseph, Madonna, even Veronica (who?)

The choir space for litanies to be chanted

A pulpit where God’s word might be met

Souls transplanted, enchanted, grace granted

Plus the little gift shop, lest we forget

How do you build a cathedral?

Ancient buildings for earnest historians

To the Roman Catholic pious, ultimately needful

Though weird to those damned Presbyterians

How do you build a church?

Mind by mind

Being kind

Heart by heart

Love’s best start

Hand by hand

We understand

Prayers intoned

Borrowed faith owned

Holy silence

Faith making sense

Scriptures read

Broken bread

Scriptures heard

Practical Word

Where compassion

Is never rationed

Sacraments celebrated

Theology debated

Meetings to attend

Strangers made friends

Crises to manage

Stopping the damage

PIF’s to adjudicate

Systems to navigate

More meetings to lead

Frustrations to heed

Churches to close

Hopes to transpose

Elders to educate

Commissioned pastors to graduate

Visits to be made

Comforting the afraid

Joys and griefs shared

Ministry dared

Going where they are

Healing those scars

Ears that listen

Our human condition

Counsel given

A people forgiven

Questions that teach

Mysteries within reach

Gifts of hospitality

Here the divine reality

Gift of meekness

Forbearing our weakness

Holding one’s tongue

Praises sung

Creating trust

Love that is just

As Bonhoeffer said

Where Jesus alone is head

How do you grow a church?

With stones of flesh

Incarnate success

Pastors that serve

Thanks deserved

Servants that care

With conviction and prayer

Showing the way

Day by day

Walking together

Christ our only measure

Thus we say it again

Amen and Amen

So, God speed you Steve Cureton

At times taxing, it’s been fun

Now this work is done

Something new begun

Christ’s glory is won

So says each and everyone

135 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page