Christmas is fast approaching, so I thought I would slow down and take a moment to share one of my favorite sites in Liège, Belgium – the Collegiate Church of St. Bartholomew. It was one of those places that I kept running across, but couldn’t actually enjoy until my final day in Belgium last July. You know, one thing or another. But the exterior was like no other church I’d ever seen. I was determined to step inside.
When I finally crossed the threshold of this Romanesque beauty, the docent directed me to her greatest treasure – the baptismal font. As I walked around the medieval font, behold! (one of my favorite words to write) – scenes of Biblical baptisms unfolded before my very eyes. The docent knew all of them and recounted them to me in great detail. Of course, I can’t remember them all, but the baptism of Jesus took root in my memory.
Sometimes a culture’s greatest creations are not hidden behind the walls of a museum. Armed with such knowledge, I took a gander around the church to marvel at the paintings, sculptures, reliefs, and stained glass. Each one has a story to tell, but I’ll let you imagine what they could be – who created them and why. Who came to pray near them and why.
And when in a Meuse-Romanesque church, don’t forget to look up – and down. Vaulted ceilings and remains of great ones mirror possibility now and forever.
Not everything of beauty hangs on the walls.
Joyeux Noël !