I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to go to Mechernich, Germany. But I hope that I do, someday. It is the home to a piece of religious architecture that mesmerizes my own spiritual imagination. It’s called the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, and it’s something like a fossil of fire. Here’s what it looks like on the inside.
The view from the inside to the top is even more arresting.
How it was made is part of what makes it so extraordinary. The architect, Peter Zumthor, erected a series of wooden beams in an arrangement that created an artful space, almost like an A-frame structure. The wooden beams were the skeleton, over which concrete was poured and shaped. Zumthor then set the wood ablaze while the concrete was still drying. The effect is what you can see––a space that is raw, full of ash and the memory of fire.
It is interesting to see the brittle, vulnerability of the space that Zumthor created. Fire is such a destructive, consuming force. But something always outlasts fire, and what is left is always more vulnerable than it was before. But in that vulnerability is something beautiful and profound––even holy. Like a forest renewing itself after a seasonal fire, or rock fields being created by a magma flow, fire can lead to creation.
We are all vulnerable. To be human is to be exposed to a world that can wound us. It follows that we find beauty in our woundedness and to embrace the virtues that come with being vulnerable: empathy, concern, the love of peace. If I ever get to go inside the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, those are the things I will meditate upon.
Sometimes it is hard to tap into our spiritual selves or find time to nurture our creativity and intellectual curiosity. Here is a section that reflects on some nourishing materials from around the web and related media channels in order to get us thinking, get us feeling, and get us reflecting on the lives we are living in this big world. **Some Adult/Mature Themes May Appear in Links and Other Attached Material**
Allan T. Georgia, MDiv, MTS, PhD