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Why I Love Old Church Buildings

J. Salmoral photograph of St Paul's Cathedral, London

I absolutely love old church buildings. I’m not sure why, but I love ’em.

Two years ago I visited London and had a day’s walk sightseeing. London in winter is miserable, but I still loved the buildings. I guess I love old buildings in general, to be honest. I have some sort of weird enjoyment for old architecture.

It could be in my blood. My grandfather was an architect, something I only found out some time after I generated an interest in architecture. Weird, huh?

I also love history. I aced it in school, more than any of my other subjects, and I can watch the History channel all day.

Anyway, I think I love old churches also because it’s just filled with secret spots and interesting tidbits. When I went to London I paid a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral (pictured above) and Westminster Abbey. I went in to hear the evensong choir sing at St. Paul’s (you can get in for free then).

Wow. It was beautiful. The choir’s voices reverberating and echoing through the nave (pictured above) was an aural delight. God’s presence was so enjoyable. I often find some of my peers think I’m a little weird for being able to enjoy God’s presence so strongly through the songs of choirs and wandering old church buildings. I tend to think we all have our way of enjoying God, and this for me is one of them.

It’s just that the building represents generation after generation of people like me who have ‘felt their heart strangely warmed’ (as John Wesley put it). Of course, I’m romanticising it, I also know it can represent religion and all the more embarrassing parts of church history. But it doesn’t have to just represent that. There is a romantic side to it, and many don’t seem to appreciate that. They focus way too much on the negative.

Our modern churches are so boring. Old churches are filled with secret corners where you can sit in silence and pray, and just enjoy God’s presence. New church buildings are over practical and boring.

I realise that most people walk into an old church building and think ‘religion’ rather than romanticise about it like I do. I dislike religion A LOT. But I love old things, and secret spots, and mystery, and all that.

There’s a church in Midrand I used to visit often on weekdays during my lunch break (when I used to work there). On a rainy day, sitting in this beautiful church building alone, in some secret corner in the dark, with the smell of wood and stone and wet sand from outside and the rain thrashing against the roof… heavenly man. What joy. God is so amazing; His joy is indescribable.

Sweet sweet memories.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia


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