During an ecumenical prayer service in Latvia on Sept 24, Pope Francis warned Christians to not let the faith turn into another piece of history, but to keep it an active part of their lives and communities.
“This is a recurring danger for all of us,” the Pope said on Sept. 24. “We can take what gives us our very identity and turn it into a curio from the past, a tourist attraction, a museum piece that recalls the achievements of earlier ages. … The same thing can happen with faith.”
“We can stop feeling like ‘resident’ Christians and become tourists,” he continued. “We could even say that our whole Christian tradition can run the same risk: the risk of ending up as a museum piece, enclosed within the walls of our churches, and no longer giving out a tune capable of moving the hearts and inspiring the lives of those who hear it.” Pope Francis spoke during an ecumenical
prayer meeting in the evangelical Lutheran cathedral in Riga, Latvia. The cathedral is one of the country’s most recognizable landmarks and houses a pipe organ considered among the best in the world.
Though the organ has been renovated and rebuilt several times over the years, it is also considered one of the oldest in Europe and was at one time the largest in the world.
During the prayer service, Francis referenced the organ, pointing out how it must have “accompanied the life, the creativity, the imagination and the devotion of all those who were moved by its sound.”
“It has been the instrument of God and of men, for lifting of eyes and hearts to heaven. Today it is a symbol of this city and its cathedral,” he said. “For those who live here, it is more than a monumental organ; it is part of the life, traditions and identity of this place.”
He said the organ can be a symbol of the Christian faith, which, as St Luke says, “is not to be hidden away, but to be made known and to resound in the various sectors of society.”