Steeples are controversial church construction in America and this is true in my hometown. How high is high enough and how high is too high? In the age of faith, steeples were an accepted and desired construction in a town over the church or cathedral, calling the faithful to reach toward heaven to literally look up and think of God. The faithful and even those not so faithful have taken comfort in church and cathedral steeples and the bells often housed within these steeples throughout the centuries…not so in the modern day! Often the building of a church steeple is accompanied by controversial city ordinances about such constructions, ensuring bitterly contested opinions. The steeple of my home community is topped by an angel which can be seen far out over the bay by fishermen, yachtsmen and landlubbers on the far shore. The angel beckons and compels the stranger in, lights the way of the fisherman in the fog, and welcomes the faithful.
No steeple controversy issues here in the 14-15th century walled city of Brugge. The steeples were here first! I was struck by the welcome offered me by the Onze Lieve Vrouw (Our Lady Church) spire over the city of Brugge. I anxiously awaited my stop in Brugge after weeks in Italy; I struggled with my suitcase out of the train station into the plein. There was the Onze Lieve Vrouw spire waiting for me, in the evening twilight, enveloping me, welcoming me to Brugge, my adopted home. In the evening the Onze Lieve Vrouw spire is always awash with light. She was beautiful, beckoning; maybe that is a taste of how it will be when God welcomes us home to Heaven from our adopted land on earth.