On holiday in Cyprus, near Paphos.
Most of the architecture was hotels and shops and restaurants but in the back streets more conventional houses. Something that struck me was that, on the basis that form follows function, the dwellings were designed for shade. In Britain homes have been built for shelter. This simple difference probably has a profound effect upon our psychology and culture. We need defence from cold, rain and wind. In the Levant the great need is shade from the sun.
I visited two ancient archaeological sites: The Tomb of the Kings and a Neolithic settlement. The latter had the remnants of buildings dating from 10,000 years ago to late Roman Times. In one place I stood in the doorway of a small dwelling. Inside were a few rooms and hollows. The roof was gone – probably had been made from a wooden trellis covered with a vine. Perhaps, outside there was a covered area and a fig tree? The late afternoon was very hot. The sun had no clouds to battle with, the sky was clear cerulean blue fading to white on the horizon. As I stood in the doorway I enjoyed a gentle, cool breeze. Some aspect of the architectural design encouraged a draught through the door into the room. Not of heated air but a gentle, cool breeze. I thought of the Holy Spirit, the RUACH of the Old Testament. I remembered the promise of God:
Micah 4:4 Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. That promise can be for us in the heat of challenge and trouble. Christ is our shade from the heat of the day and the brightness of the moon. Perhaps our local church fellowship could be something similar. A place of shade and where we can experience the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit?