I (Katy) was able to spend some time in Glendalough last week looking at some of the old ruins there. In the centre of the valley, there is a church that was once the largest gathering point for Christian believers of its time. The area was a place of pilgrimage and theological study. It was built in the 900's and took roughly 100 years to be completed.
Even though the bones of the structure are still standing today, it is but a shadow of its former glory. As I was walking through the front doors of the church, I wondered how the people who journeyed there felt about the place at the time. That place was a pretty big deal to them and to the rest of the God-fearing nation.
The truth is, it was just a building; a building that is now frequented by Japanese tourists with cameras. See, it was indeed just a building, but what lives on about the parish is the impact the Word of God had on the generations that followed. Buildings, systems, liturgy, and all that we use to convey the message of Jesus are merely tools. They are temporal and will fade away. They are the "What," not the "Why." Sometimes we as Christians have a tendency to worship the What.
We should be the most focused on the big picture - why do we do the things we do? Do they bring the most glory to God and illuminate His love? Our vision of the present should reflect the truth that, unlike what we can build with our human hands, the Word of God will never fade away.