Can Architects Serve God in Their Work?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
When he brought me there, I saw a man standing in the gate. He appeared to be bronze, and he had a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. The man spoke to me, “Human one, look and listen well, and take seriously everything I show you, because you were brought here so that these things could be revealed to you. Describe everything you see to the house of Israel.”
So, what do you think? Can architects serve God in their work? Yes, of course they can serve God by treating their coworkers kindly, by speaking about their faith when it's appropriate to do so, and maybe even by gathering a few people together for a prayer group. All of this is quite fine. But I'm wondering if architects can serve God in their actual work, in what they design and why?
Ezekiel 40 points to an answer to this question. As the chapter begins, Ezekiel receives a divinely-inspired vision in which the Lord brings him to the land of Israel and sets him down on a high mountain. From this perspective, Ezekiel will watch a bronze-colored man make precise measurements of a temple and its courtyards. The prophet's job is to watch carefully, so that he can report back to the house of Israel what he has observed. Then, when the Israelites are restored to their land, they can build the temple according to God's master plan.
Ezekiel 40 and the chapters that follow spell out in detail the design of the temple. This suggests that God cares about architectural details. One might wonder if God cares only about such things when they pertain to the temple in Jerusalem. But it is surely true that the creator of universe is deeply concerned about how everything is designed. In the matter of the temple, he reveals the master plan in detail. But when it comes to other buildings and spaces, the Lord allows us to imitate him as designers.
Those who have special gifts and training in this area–architects, interior designers, landscapers, etc.–are called as stewards of God's creation to design in a way that honors him and serves his people. Architects have the opportunity to serve God by caring about such things as: the needs of people, beauty, stewardship, and justice. Their work can be a reflection of God's own work as designer of the universe. If they offer their work as an offering to the Lord, if they seek to honor him in all they do, then, yes, indeed, architects can serve God in their work.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Can you think of specific ways architects might express their faith through their work? In what ways has your life been enriched by the work of architects?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I read Ezekiel 40, I am reminded that you care about this world. You care about things rooms, plazas, gates, and porches. And you care about the work of your people. What we do in our daily lives can be an offering to you. May this be true of my and my work today.
I want to thank you for architects. I thank you for those with whom I have had the pleasure of working, for their brilliance, wisdom, and collegiality. I thank you for those I have never known, but who have designed spaces that mean so much to me. I thank you for the architects who envisioned my home, my office, and my church. I thank you for those who designed Laity Lodge, Central Park, and St. Peter's Church in my home town. I thank you as well for the architects I know personally who seek to serve you each day in their work. Bless them and those like them. Inspire them. Guide them. Use them to help this world reflect you more fully.
All praise be to you, creator God, master architect of all things. Amen.
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