Tuesday, February 17

Grace for a building

I have been always attracted to ancient buildings with historical and cultural connections. In my home town, my parish Church is one of them. The other day, I noticed an old building from colonial times, standing by the seaside. Built with brick and mortar, this building seems to tell me of the British and their Raj.

Inscribing a grace on the building is an old art. The Swiss and the Germans often acknowledge the grace of God’s permission to build and possess a quiet resting-place, in simple sweet words. John Ruskin (1819-1900) has quoted a grace in his famous writings - The Lamp Of Memory :

With heartfelt trust
Have Johannes Mooter and Maria Rubi
Had this house built.
The dear God will shield us
From all misfortune and danger
And let it stand in blessedness
On this journey, through this time of sorrow
To the heavenly Paradise
Where all good people dwell
There will God reward them
With the Crown of Peace
To all eternity.

This grace was found written in front of a cottage built among the green pastures in the small village of Grindelwald. John Ruskin overturned the Victorian society’s ideas about art and architecture. He argues in The Lamp Of Memory that ancient building must be conserved for their deep mystical links with the past and that creative design is essential – not for financial gain, but to communicate eternal human truths.

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