Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Back in 1675, some nine years after the terrible fire in London, Sir Christopher Wren himself laid the first foundation stone in what was to be his greatest architectural enterprise---the building of St. Paul's Cathedral. I've been in that beautiful building. It took him 35 years to complete this task, and when it was done he waited breathlessly for the reaction of her majesty, Queen Anne. After being carefully shown through the structure, she summed up her feeling for the architecture in three words: "It is awful; it is amusing; it is artificial."

Imagine how you would feel today if words like these were used to describe the work of your life! However, Sir Christopher Wren's biographer said that on hearing, he heaved a sigh of relief and bowed gratefully before His sovereign. How could this be? The explanation is simple: In 1710, the word awful meant "awe-inspiring," the word amusing meant "amazing," and the word artificial meant "artistic." What to our ears might sound like a devastating criticism were in that time words of measured praise.

There is no doubt a lesson in that story for those who would quibble over the relative merits of the various Bible versions and translations. Shades of meaning cannot alter what God has revealed in his Word. God is bigger than we can imagine and He is always at work.