Yesterday’s sermon was about the cathedrals of medieval Europe.

I happened to have a bunch of cathedral photos hanging out on my computer, and had read The Book Junkie’s tip for making picture grids, so I have prepared for you an overview of cathedrals, in case you do not have a mental image.

When I was looking at these pictures from #2 daughter’s UK jaunt, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the buildings, and the thought that people had built them — buildings of a beauty and complexity that we never match today — with the equivalent of the hammer and awl I was using all last week making our shopping carts.

We don’t do that now, I thought, because we do not take the long view. We do not consider doing things for the glory of God rather than for profit or immediate self-glorification. We do not have the grandeur in our thoughts.

But the pastor pointed out the enormous importance of the cathedrals in the daily lives of the people. For many, they provided most of  the beauty and comfort in their lives, the respite from the struggle for survival. The feeding of their spirits. They did not necessarily have the option of creating beauty for themselves in their own homes, or of choosing to spend their working hours in creative endeavors. They could not read the Bible in their homes or keep up with the news through the written word. They only had daily music if they could produce it themselves.

Now, most of us live lives of beauty and comfort most of the time, or can do so if we choose to. And yet many of us choose not to. We have ready access to the very best of literature, music, film, and graphic arts. We have company whenever we want it, either in the flesh or at the end of electronic devices. Few of us are honestly engaged in a struggle for survival, though many of us talk as though we were.

The two main uses of time among American adults apart from work — here, where most of us can sample the glories of nature and art at will — are shopping and watching TV.

Something to think about.

Book number 2 for week number 1 of my Summer Reading Challenge was Agatha Christie’s Elephants Can Remember. Dame Agatha’s worst book is still worth reading — and this could be it. One of the latest, written in the mid-’70s, it relies on a central clever idea and a lot of conversation. These conversations are so vague and rambling that you have to wonder whether she was just going through the motions, secure in the knowledge that anything she wrote would sell.

Here’s where I read it.

Yes, that is the entrance to my home. It may be that the bushes are in need of pruning. I may need to take a saw to them, in fact. Those are weeds which took root in the azaleas and are now six feet tall. It is not that I intentionally grew a jungle across my walkway.

It’s a great rocker — another wonderful hand-me-down from my parents. Here is the view you have when you sit in it. Frankly, I like it. It is like being in the forest, even though there is a street and houses and all that sort of thing just beyond the foliage.

I knitted up one ball of the Luna in Silken Damask.

The second Jasmine sweater is underway. I won’t be showing it to you much, because you have already seen numerous pictures of Jasmine in progress, but I am enjoying it.

The other thing that I did yesterday — besides reading and knitting, church, and a modicum of cooking and housework — was to watch the BBC film of Cold Comfort Farm. This novel, by Stella Gibbons, is one of my favorite books, and they did a good job on the film. There were a number of  literary allusions, including Wuthering Heights and the works of Jane Austen. See, even if you don’t want to read old books, you have to, because otherwise you won’t understand the TV shows.