900 years of culture turned to ash as the Notre Dame Cathedral burst into flames. People sang, grieved, and posted their memories as the Holy Week commenced. It was depressing but also unifying as we know now that there are millions of dollars in donations being pledged by nations and organizations all around the world for the rebuild project.
I saw through various news stations weeped and mourned the loss of this holy place. The disappointment of not being able to celebrate Easter Sunday in this beautiful place. Then, the first pictures were released and an amazing modern miracle and metaphor flashed before me. Through all the carnage and damage done, the alter and the cross still stood among the destruction.
As I looked, it reminded me, especially during the Easter season, that Jesus still reigns on the thrown. In human understanding, I'm sure there have been people who have questioned, "How could God let this happen to one of his most sacred houses?" The hope we all can know is that a building alone is not the church, but it is the Holy Spirit within the body of believers that truly represents church. I stand joyous in the knowledge that the Spirit can be in the historical beauty of the stain glass windows of France or in the basements of the persecuted believers throughout the world.
God does not care what room we as his children physically worship, as long as they are worshiping him. God does not get distracted by this tragedy! He knew this would happen before the world began, which is too amazing for me to comprehend. God is never surprised or taken aback, because He knows the story, and the end finishes in victory.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Art and culture were lost. A building that survived plagues and was deemed so sacred the Nazi's would not destroy it, went up in flames in the process of a face-lift. That is so disappointing. One of the possibilities I wonder is could someone come to Christ through this? Wouldn't that be worth more than all the art and history in the world to have just one person have an eternal history with the Father? You can rebuild a building, but you can not rebuild a life and relive it after time is up.
There is comfort in the Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) which says,
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing is too big for God. I take comfort in the assurance that my God is greater than even the largest fire. Shown in the glory of a golden cross, I know that Christ's was not so glamourous, but how precious is that level of love. When I saw the picture of the alter it made me think of the song In Christ Alone,
"No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand...For I am his and he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ."
I know we all mourned the loss the old as the spire fell into the carnage. However, now let's look forward to what the reconstruction of the Cathedral will look like, and the new history will hold!