I was heartsick to see the images of the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral ablaze yesterday. Hundreds of years of history swept away in a brutal rush of flames. To think of all the stories it has born witness to: Napoleon walking in and declaring himself emperor, Mary I of Scotland marrying the Dauphin Francois, Louis Vierne dying while playing the Notre Dame cathedral organ (his life-long dream), and the Te Deum Mass to celebrate the liberation of Paris on August 26, 1944 while snipers shot from both the internal and external galleries. These barely scratch the surface of all the cathedral has seen in its long, majestic history.
I grieve for what has been lost, but I know my sorrow holds no comparison to that of the French people.
Yet beauty and truth are often revealed in the refiner’s fire. Such is the case of Notre Dame.
Pictures emerged today of the destruction. Amid the charred ruins of the spire, the collapsed roof and ashes filling the sanctuary, one beautiful object remains shimmering amid the smoke and rubble. The cross.
How very like God to remind us our hope is not found in history, in people, in art, in architecture, or even in our memories. All of time, our dreams, our past, and our future intersect at the cross. It will forever remain. Unchanged. Immovable. The focal point for all humanity.
The cross is where joy and sorrow meet. It is where Jesus bought our freedom. This life slips through our fingers like ash, but the power of the cross endures for all time. Amen.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.'” ~ John 11:25-26