Next weekend I will be joining lots of people from Grantham on a cycle ride to raise money for the repair of the wonderful spire of St Wulfram's. Because we are lucky enough to grow up and live our lives alongside extraordinary buildings like this, we often take them for granted - and forget how spectacular they are and what dizzying ambition they represent. Just imagine if, today in 2013, someone submitted a planning application for a stone building, 282 feet in height, to be constructed in the heart of our town.
Imagine the uproar. People would worry about its effect on passing aircraft and would consult the RAF about the possible impact on our national security. Near neighbours would be outraged by the potential loss of light from their back gardens. And there would be lots of debate at the local planning committee about the risk of localised weather cyclones as the Lincolnshire winds whip around the tall conical edifice. Thankfully, in the early 14th Century, the people of Grantham and the princes of the Church had the courage of their convictions. They faced down the naysayers (all of them forgotten now) and set about building "the finest steeple in England" to glorify God and show off the energy and ingenuity of man.
I will feel very small when we set out from St Wulfram's next Saturday. And humbled by the scale of the achievement of our forefathers over 700 years ago. As we raise money to secure the future of our spire, we should also ask ourselves what monuments we will leave behind for the people of Grantham to marvel 700 years hence.