For beautiful buildings, you can’t beat the Greeks. Leading some of our Allied Ministry Friends on a tour of Greece this summer – walking in the footsteps of the apostle Paul, seeing once-splendid edifices, like the Temple of Apollo and the Acropolis – I couldn’t help but marvel again at the skill of their great architects and the enduring grace of their Corinthian columns.
You can see that same marvelous architecture all over Washington, D.C., in buildings like the one that houses the Supreme Court. You can see something else, too: that we have inherited something far more insidious than classical style from those Greeks.
Reading through the book of Acts, we learn how so many of the leaders and philosophers of that long-ago culture made the tragic, deliberate choice to reject the eternal truth of the living Christ, so eloquently presented to them by Paul and others. Enamored of their own gods, sure of their own cultural and intellectual superiority, they failed to see the Light before them … and so led their people into darkness. In doing so, they lost their nation’s chance for enduring greatness.
I think of that, remembering what Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said, at the dedication of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in 1932: "The Republic endures, and this is the symbol of its faith." He seemed to be saying that the Court, and its interpretation of our laws and Constitution, will always be the ultimate decider of what is right and good and best about America.
Now, if I didn’t believe in the authority of law, I wouldn’t have devoted my life to practicing it, or to defending our Constitution. But the symbol of my faith is not a building in Washington, however beautifully designed it may be. Nor is my ultimate hope for justice invested in nine justices who are as vulnerable as those long-ago Greeks (and the rest of us) to being swallowed alive by their own egos and philosophies and the pressures of an increasingly pagan culture.
No, the symbol of my faith – and my great hope for our country – is a cross, as the emblem of God’s unswerving commitment to justice, and to grace. Insofar as our highest court exerts its great influence to protect the freedom of those who would live out that faith, I will always recognize its dignity and honor its symbolic importance to the health and future of our republic.
But you and I know our Lord has His own ideas on what makes good architecture. "You are God’s building," Paul told the Greeks of Corinth. Each of us who humbly seeks to serve Him is a temple of His Holy Spirit … a symbol of our own faith, and proof abundant that His Kingdom endures.
John 15:5 - Apart from Christ, we can do nothing.