Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sagrada Familia

My Mom keeps marveling with me at the spectacular churches in Europe. Well Mom, you ain't seen nothin' yet!!! Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona will undoubtedly make the most skeptical a believer. The church has been under construction since 1882 and isn't scheduled to be complete until 2026 at the earliest. That is 150 years of faith in artful action. The obvious first thing to notice is the gaggle of cranes embracing the church. This is clearly an active construction zone with saws and hammers and dust everywhere. It costs 13 euros to get in, so not cheap, but the Sagrada Familia is a must see. Plus there is satisfaction in knowing you are contributing to completion!My second observation was the Passion facade. Christ upon the crucifix is a common symbol throughout Europe. Yet this depiction is raw and gripping. The emotion of the stone figures is impossible to miss or downplay.Inside the construction and scaffolding take up much of the sanctuary. Which is a tad disappointing not to have free reign to wander. When we visited 8 years ago we were footloose and fancy free (translation - childless) so we climbed the steeples up the winding steps. Which was a highlight. This time we weren't so footloose so we concentrated on the facades and vast interior design.Being not so footloose has its priceless rewards too - like seeing Connor's face against Gaudi's genius.The rear facade (opposite the Passion facade) is of the Nativity...With designs as consuming as this one I have to sit and let my eyes settle in to spot the smaller details. Mary, Joseph and Jesus are at the bottom...
The shepherds' adoration...The kings bring their gifts...Here they are taking the babe into Egypt...We followed the path down to the crypt that serves as the Sagrada Familia's museum of the work in progress. There we spotted models of how the artists continue to mold, plan and craft these plans. And also sketches for the third and grandest (yet-to-be-built) facade, the Glory Facade.The film in the crypt museum details the decades of work thus far. And gives you a glimpse as to how this....becomes this...The great doors on the Passion facade are perhaps my favorite part. They are New Testament words in many different languages. The way the letters pop off the doors in 3D make them especially memorable.
Connor loved the doors too. She had a ball pointing out all her favorite letters. And of course "C" is the most recognized and beloved!
I feel God's mercy, passion, and love in the Sagrada Familia like I rarely have before. I will do everything I can to return to Barcelona with my family in 2026 to worship together in the finished is one of those anticipated pilgrimages to honor the work of so many for so long.

No comments: