Rising from the horizon, it will be the tallest church in the world when completed. Even so, it won’t compare to the tallest mountain in city of Barcelona. There stands the unfinished work of architect Antoni Gaudi – The La Sagrada Famila, or “the church of the holy family”.
This structure started construction in 1880’s, and it is slated to be finished in 2026. Gaudi devoted his entire life to building this church, sometimes even sleeping onsite. Gaudi tragically died before he was able finish building La Sagrada Famila. La Sagrada Famila is one of my favorite buildings in the world, but not because of the pure architectural design, gothic, or curvilinear Art Nouveau forms.
Rather, I find the message behind the construction of the church memorable: that we are called to pour our lives into something bigger than ourselves, a life filled loving those around us on campus and our neighbors
Two Facades that Stand as Pillars of Our Faith
The two completed façades of The La Sagrada Famila are named Nativity and Passion. Two façades display the celebration of Christ’s birth, filled with all types of creatures and animals. The Passion facade is rigid and starkly, resembling bones and striking terror in us as we are reminded of the suffering of Christ.
These façades represent more than reality of the nativity and crucifixion, and the messages of Christmas and Easter tower over us. These completed facades serve as reminders for us to share the life of Jesus with others. The construction site reminds us of God’s calling – for us to play our part in God’s story- one full of loopholes, subplots, twists and turns, danger, and an array of scenes.
Gaudi’s works show that, even after our death, our work should outshine us, and that we are not the star – God is, and He should be given all the glory. Gaudi’s dedication on his final day building this great basilica reminds us of the life God has called us to: a life of missions in our individual spheres of influence, and a life that is dedicated to others, sharing the hope of the world and love of Jesus.
The Glory Forever and Ever
The last façade of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Famila, the Glory facade which will display the second coming of God and His day of judgment. The completion of the Nativity and the Passion stretch two generations, as the Glory facade is still being built. The Glory facade parallels our lives as we are on the road partnering with God.
As we anticipate the coming again of Jesus and our hopes rest on Him for restoring the world, the last facade is a metaphor of the life of serving God and sharing about Jesus wherever we may happen to be – on campus, at home, and at work . Despite the many hurdles and failure in our attempts to reconcile a broken world to Jesus, we should not be discouraged. For we await the completion of the story of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul said, “In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His spirit” Eph 2:21-22. As work is being done to complete Gaudi’s last façade so is God working in our lives to complete His story. We must do our part in God’s story, sharing about Jesus in everything we do in our life.
Anthony Deng is a New York City Metro Campus Coordinator for Campus Renewal. He ;eads and coordinates volunteer for events such as One Cry and helps facilitate the New York City Metro Area student core team. Anthony was born and raised in New York City graduated from CUNY the City College of New York he has a B.A in History and Asian Studies. Anthony gives New York City tours to freshmen of various campuses teaching and showing various hidden gems of New York City. On the side, he loves to collect college sweatshirts and t-shirts as well as plays. In addition, he loves to play and watch basketball and football.