Friday, January 6, 2012

Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California

Hi friends! Last week I had a couple of days off, and took a trip over to Oakland to visit the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The outside of the building is wrapped in glass, and sits near Lake Merritt. The glass and sky meld together, meshing the limits of Heaven and Earth. I had my camera with me and took a few pictures, although, I'll admit, pictures can't capture the amazingness of this place.

Cathedral of Christ the Light

Cathedral of Christ the Light

From the moment I stepped through the doors, I was taken by the symbolism and presence that filled the place. And the sense that God was there, hovering, welcoming, surrounding me.

The first thing one sees as they enter the wooden double doors is the large bubbling baptismal font. Past that is the interior of the church which is a symphony of glass framed in wood. Light appropriately fills the space. Below my feet was the passage of Genesis 1:2-3 engraved in the floor around the large font. I walked over the passage as I read it.

"the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light.” 

Cathedral of Christ the Light

I loved how the dark waters and sparkling light gave me a deep sense of The Creation. I could see the symbolism of the water used here, that first act of God's Creation virtually dancing together with the act of by John baptising Jesus. Water and light. Creation and Christ. I stared at the bubbling watery void and imagined the Spirit of God moving over a vast sea of water before there was light or land.

The creation passage continues to play out in the architecture of the space, as does the marriage of Old Testament and New Testament in imagery and message. I was drawn into the space by the light, the light of the sun cascading through the huge ark-like dome that makes up the "ceiling." And, led by the light of Christ, whose image sits above the altar. The image itself, called the "Omega Window" stands 58 feet tall, and is made of 94,000 preforations through metal. The light of the sun illuminates the light of Christ for this amazing image, again marrying Creation and Christ in a moving way. The outdoor shadows change the lighting of the image constantly, breathing life into it.

Cathedral of Christ the Light

As I looked straight up from this same point, I was taken by the architecture. The vast ark-like wooden beams, coupled with the triangular panels, resonated with the story of Noah, and at the same time, symbolism of the Trinity.

Cathedral of Christ the Light

This photo is taken standing in front of the altar, looking back towards the entrance.
Interior of Cathedral of Christ the Light 2

And here is Jesus on the cross which sits below the Omega Window on the altar.
Cathedral of Christ the Light

Everything about this building and its design is inspiring. The attention to details, the inherent resonance with scripture, and the overwhelming sense of God fills the space; each was mind blowing to me. The lines of the building constantly lead the eye towards the Heavens, yet at the same time the materials used to build the space are simple, modern, clean. I love this Cathedral, and have a hard time finding words for how completely breath-taking it is.

If you'd like to visit or learn more, this stunning building was written up in Arch Daily (an architecture site). You can also visit the Cathedral of Chris the Light in Oakland's website to find out about taking a tour or attending mass.

Feeling inspired by humanity's tribute to the Holy,
Paula 

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