The clever brains and rough hands which conceived and constructed European cathedrals and monasteries also built barns — and, quite naturally, in a similar style. The banked barn, popular in Ohio, shows the influence of church architecture. It's a two-floor rectangular barn that is normally built into a hillside. The upstairs layout suggests a basilica with a center bay inspired by a nave, and the side bays reflect church aisles.
You've probably noted the irony by now. Jesus warns us about being barn-building fools, yet the barns we build are modeled after the places where we worship the one who warned us about barns.
But barns aren't bad. Jesus asks whether we really need to build bigger ones. In the gospel of Luke the 12th chapter, a successful farmer invests in barn-building. The premise from Jesus is that when we focus so much time and energy on "building bigger barns," we don't have time for the kingdom of God, can't spare the energy for advancing the agenda of the church, lose sight of divine priorities, and become blind to growing and deathly materialism.
It's a warning not to let your soul sink so low beneath the weight of "stuff" that you lose a sense of what's important in life. The rich farmer, poor in heart, worships his desires made possible by his possessions. He adores the idea of his success. His thinking centers on success alone, believing possessions will satisfy his soul. He becomes a barn-building fool.
Thank you to Pastor Becky Erbe for filling the pulpit last Sunday and for taking care of pastoral emergencies while I was away. Fortunately, we survived a hard landing in California, then a cancelled flight back to Illinois (something about an electric hydraulic pump which could impact the landing gears, wing flaps, or brakes — guess that is good enough to cancel a flight). As well we survived an abundance of sunburn!
Thanks also to Duane Phillips and Arch Smith for making sure the boiler inspector could get in and certify our boiler that was repaired.
Hope to see you Sunday in worship!