No trees to be found

Beijing Olympic Square

Most people remember the glorious 2008 Beijing Olympics. The majestic event demonstrated the rising power of this nation. But upon what principle is this earthly glory and power built?

I recently toured the Olympic Square in Beijing. Look at this panoramic picture, what is missing?

(That is my family in the foreground, the Water Cube in the far left and the Bird Nest in the middle.I am missing because I am the one taking the picture).

Have you notice the color green is missing? There is not a single tree, nor there is any patches of grass in this super-sized  square. I checked on Google Maps with their aerial pictures – there are trees around the artificial lake, and trees lining the highways surrounding the Olympic Square – but inside the square not a single tree.

I once was given a lesson on architecture by the famous Chinese evangelist Stephen Tong. He asked us why there are many ancient architectural sites in the Western world (e.g. Acropolis of Athens, Colosseum of Rome – both of them around 2000 years old) while relatively few survived in China. (The Imperial palace in Beijing is only a few hundred years old). His answer was, “Chinese believe that living people should live in buildings that are built from living materials, i.e. wood. Therefore even the palace for the emperor were always built with wood. Chinese do build large stone structures – we use stone to build tomes.”

The creation of God is full of life. The creation of industry is devoid of life.

I am also reminded that as Christians we are called to be builders. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, 1 Peter 2:4-10) We are called to build God’s house with the most precious material – with our own lives.

So what is your house made of? What is our churches made of?