Monday, May 13, 2024

The Houses of Parliament

Pictures all courtesy of Unsplash

It is interesting to learn that the British House of Parliament, known as the Palace of Westminster, is in a dire state of repair. The mother of parliaments is in desperate need of renovation and restoration. The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, has been restored at great cost, and the possibility of doing the same with the rest is a necessity but would require a great deal of time and expense. 

The building obviously has historic and global importance and is vast as it covers an area of eight acres. It also has elaborate carvings, stained glass windows, and important decorations. It apparently costs in the region of 3 million pounds a week to maintain it, and yet it is a hazardous place with the possibility of a severe fire starting someday. There have been 25 fires in the building since 2016, all, admittedly, minor. The vaults below the main floors are full of wires and pipes, with puddles, tape, foil, warning signs and old tins to catch the drips. There is also asbestos in the building to which 117 people were accidentally exposed and who will require regular health checks for the next 40 years. 

The building was burnt to the ground in 1834 and was rebuilt in a Gothic/Elizabethan style. It took until 1876 for all the work to be completed. Prior to completion, the Lords were able to move into their chamber in 1847, and the MPs moved into the Commons in 1852. The Commons chamber has never been big enough to accommodate all MPs, and after being bombed in the Second World War, it was decided to keep it as it was before. Its smallness creates an intimacy but is not really suitable for genuine work to be accomplished; such work is done in the many rooms in the Palace.

Pictures all courtesy of Unsplash

The building was designed with a ventilation system involving spaces between the floors. However, these have gradually been filled up with all sorts of new technologies, such as electric cables and equipment, CCTV equipment, internet and air conditioning. To date, all that has been accomplished with this crumbling building is to patch it up as best they can. The problem of renovation above all is the cost which is estimated at between seven and thirteen billion pounds. One can well imagine the indignation of many people if such costs over ran or even were undertaken. Also there is a problem as to what to do with the MPs and Lords while the work is undertaken. It is a big problem, and no one seems to have a coherent plan.

Pictures all courtesy of Unsplash

Keeping our own little homes in order is enough for most of us, and we can so easily worry when things go wrong, like a leaky roof or a blocked drain. Yet the interesting thing is that the home we occupy will not be ours forever. At some stage, we must relinquish it, and someone else will be the owner of the home we live in. We may go into a care home or leave our body and enter eternity. We do not know when this will happen, and we do not know who will take over the house. 

Thankfully Jesus spoke of a home that required no renovation because it will never decay. He spoke of a mansion with many rooms (John 14). A place of blessing, love, light and glory. A place to explore forever and to delight in God for eternity. A place where we will be satisfied and wonderfully blessed. A place where we will actively serve the Lord and worship Him unfettered by the limitations of our present physical bodies and our sinful nature. Yet not everyone will go there. It is only for those who have responded positively to the Gospel. Those who have come to know God personally through faith in Christ. Those who have trusted the Saviour and entered God’s family. Such people have a glorious hope and a sure expectation. Today may we all know this wonderful future through faith in Christ.

Written by PAUL YOUNG 

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