16 March 2010

Peacefully Picking up the Pieces

Old buildings are a wonderful reminder of continuity. I especially like old buildings in places where natural or political events have intervened in history. Sacred spaces are often amongst those first to be rebuilt or repaired after a disaster. Their place in the psyche and the environment can help to restore our hopes for the future.

The picture above is from my Japanese travels in 2005. You may know that Japan is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Yet the traditional buildings of Japan are often places of harmonious interaction with the mysteries of life.

Another part of the world with many beautiful sacred spaces is Italy. The art and architecture of the Italian peninsula have frequently been threatened, and even destroyed, by earthquakes, floods, and violent attacks by humans.

In January 1117, the north of Italy suffered a catastrophic earthquake. The cathedral in Cremona was under construction at the time. Building work resumed in 1129 and by the 1160s, the main alter and the octagonal baptistery were completed.

Whenever there is trauma and crisis in our lives, looking at pictures of sacred spaces, or even visiting such spaces, can remind us of the importance of peacefully picking up the pieces of our lives, whatever religious or political beliefs we may hold.


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