On Tuesday Penny took a day off and I travelled up to Buckingham. I had been given a National Trust membership for my birthday by my father-in-law and was keen to use it. The Chantry Chapel in Buckingham looked like an interesting place to start.
The chapel is about the size of a house, and is the oldest building in Buckingham. Built to hold church services, it still has the depression in the wall where the priest would wash his hands before handling the elements for the Lord’s Supper. Over the years it has served as a school and meeting place for various clubs, societies and charities. Now it is owned by the National Trust, serves coffee and cake, and operates as a second-hand bookshop. The atmosphere was calm and quaint, while the staff were friendly and helpful. We enjoyed our visit.
I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that at some point this building – one with a Christian function – had been built as the first and most important construction in a new settlement. The architect and the person who funded the project had a vision for the place. The Chapel was integral to that vision. What happened to that vision? At some point it died.
We do not know all the reasons this happened, but one thing is clear – without a clear vision and without a clear purpose the Christian faith cannot be lived. Jesus was clear on his vision,
““The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”” (Luke 4:18–21 NIV)
And he was clear on his purpose while on this earth,
“Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”” (Luke 19:9–10 NIV)
If those of us are clear about this in our own lives, we will see our legacy live on far beyond that of any building.