Church buildings

Referring tot he church buildings of two traditions that you have studied,* Select the main features and explain clearly how they are used in worship;* Explain why some Christians have very elaborate church buildings whilst others do not.Firstly I will look at a Catholic Church building; I will select the main features and explain how they are used in worship.* Large Alter, this is because Catholics believe the priest is re-enacts the death and resurrection of Jesus there every mass.

They also believe that during a mass Jesus is found at the altar so it is a very important feature as well as it being a very prominent feature because of its importance in the mass.* Sanctuary lamp and tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp is lit when the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle; this tells worshipers that God is present in the church. The tabernacle is an important feature because it holds the Blessed Sacrament (consecrated hosts), which are the most important thing in the mass being the body of Christ.* Large crucifix portraying Jesus on the cross suffering, this reminds us that Jesus’ suffering saved us, it also invites us to share in his suffering so we can share in resurrection.

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It is also there to direct prayers at after taking the Eucharist and during any time in the mass.* Large, elaborate font, this shows the importance of baptism in the Catholic faith, however it is off to a side to show that it is not as important as the Eucharist.* Confession box, this is so that the parishioners can confess their sins to God, it represents the fact that reconciliation will bring you closer to God and after doing it you will have more grace and feel more in-touch with God as your soul is clear of sin.* Statues, especially of Mary. These are in the church because they are meant to represent God’s asking of Human co-operation. Mary co-operated with God by having Jesus.

Also because Catholics believe Mary is the greatest saint and should be a role model to Catholics because of her loving nature and he co-operation with God. Other statues are in the church to remind us of other saints that lead lives that Catholics should follow.* Kneelers, these are used in the service to kneel on and show reverence to God; also they are used to kneel on during the Eucharist to show the importance of it. It shows that we are paying respect to God for everything that he has done for us, and also we are putting ourselves below him to show that he rules over us.* Stoop/Stations of the cross. When you come into the church you bless yourself with holy water; this is to remind yourself of the vows taken at baptism and to remind you that you are part of the church.

The Stations of the Cross are used to remind us of the last moments of Jesus’ life and how he suffered for use. They are used so that we can share his suffering and bring us closer to Jesus because we are sharing his last moments on this world.* Lectern, used to read scripture from, it is elaborate to remind us that it is the word of the lord being read from there. It has a carving of Jesus the teacher to remind us that we should be following what Jesus taught.Secondly I will look at a Methodist church building, and I will select the main features and explain how they are used in worship.* Pulpit, central and raised above the people. It is used for preaching the word of God from, it is raised to show the importance of the word of God to the Methodists, and to remind them that the Methodist faith is about preaching, and that preaching should be the main focus of the people who attend the services.

* Large organ and a piano, it is exceptionally large for such a small church. The organ is central behind the pulpit, this means that music and singing is an important part of the Methodist services. Singing starts every service and there are usually 6 hymns per mass. A Catholic theologian once said, “To sing is to pray twice”. It is very ornate for such a plain building which also puts emphasis on it and makes it stand out.

* There is no altar, just a small communion table. This shows that the word of God is of more importance than the Eucharist. Eucharist is only given once a month which also suggests that it is of not as much importance as in the Catholic Church where it is given up every mass. Also it is not seen in the same way as in the Catholic faith, Methodists do not believe in the real presence so when they take communion it is not like taking Jesus’ body and blood, it is to symbolize the Last Supper. God is present in the people no in the bread and wine.* No statues, images, or icons this is because Methodist’s think that they get in the way of praying and distract you from focusing on God.

Plain rooms with small reminders like a small Cross at the front of the room is all the Methodists believe they need to focus their attention to God. Also no stations of the cross because as with the other statues and icons etc. they get in the way of prayer, also they believe that the bible and reading tell us enough about Jesus’ suffering for them to share in it.* Font, used for baptism, it is in a prominent place which shows that baptism is though of as an important part of the Methodist church. The font is in front of the pulpit which shows that even though it is thought of as important it is not as important as readings and the word of God.* No confessional, this is because the Methodist’s believe that you should confess to God, and to God through a priest like in the Catholic church, they believe in cases like that it should only be between yourself and God because you have done the things wrong and you want forgiveness.

I will now explain why some Christian faiths, like Catholics, have more elaborate churches than other faiths.Catholics believe that during the Eucharist and during all times in the mass and when consecrated host are in the tabernacle God and Jesus are present, so the church needs to be a fitting home for the creator of everything and his son who died to save us. Also paintings on the church roofs and on the walls are educational and go back to olden days where the majority of people couldn’t read.

So pictures, statues and readings were the only way of educating the people who attended the masses about God and Jesus, and other saints and famous people though out the churches history.Through the Church you can gain God’s grace, for example Mary’s co-operation with him. Statues of mainly of Mary and of some other saints show you how to co-operate with God and the grace you get if you do his work they did. They also show you what you can do if you co-operate with God. This is all because of Ecclesiology (the understanding of the church) Catholics believe that they are the body of Christ to the world, so the body of Christ has to be beautiful because it is representing Christ’s body, also the beauty of the place give glory to God because it shows how much he is respected and loved by his people.”It would be better for Christianity if the money spent on building and maintaining special places of worship was spent on alleviating poverty instead.”I think that most Christians would agree with this statement because of many reasons. Firstly that Jesus cared for the poor like he cared for every body else.

Another reason is that Jesus praised those who gave money to help the poor, like The Poor Widow (Mark 12:41-44) in this story a poor widow gave her last penny to help the poor, and Jesus said that was more genorouse than the rich people who gave more than her because she gave all she had and the rich people didn’t. Also Jesus lived a simple life, didn’t have fancy clothes or a fancy house so therefore what is the point of having elaborate churches and places of worship. Another reason for them to agree with this comment is that in The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, Jesus commends people who help the poor – when you were helping the poor you’re helping me (meaning Jesus). Jesus said `we will be judged on how they helped the poor. `On the other hand some Christians may not agree with this statement.

One reason for this may be to show God is special and deserves somewhere special to be worshiped in. Another reason for this is to keep alive the faith as a focal point to remind people of Gods presence and it is also a place for the Christian community to meet. Also another reason is to honor God, and important building to reflect the importance of God. They may also say that the early Christians still worshiped in the Jewish temple at first then got their own places of worship therefore if they worshiped in fancy and elaborate buildings places then modern Christians should too.I think that the money should be split between the churches and the poor then everybody get the best of both worlds you can still build churches, they may not be as alabarate but you can still have one. Also the poor will get a lot more money so the wont be as poor and we will become one step closer to wiping out world poverty.I think that looking at both sides of the argument most Christians would think it is better to give the money to the poor countries than spend it on the churches.

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