After Notre Dame: Signs of Hope?
Symbols are reminders that help us find our way.
I’m deeply moved by the reactions of Parisians as they watched in disbelief fire destroying their beloved, Notre Dame. A symbol of Christendom and a monument so great that it’s visited by 30,000 people each day. Notre Dame Cathedral has stood for over eight centuries and took 200 years to build, but only hours for flames to destroy its famous spire.
As onlookers watched in disbelief, their crying, praying, and singing together in the streets will mark a significant moment in France’s story; one where sorrow and awe collide and remind us that religious symbols and buildings of our ancient Christian traditions hold deep and personal meaning.
I can’t help but think of the millions of spoken prayers offered inside this cathedral over history, a place where even the non-religious could appreciate and explore the corners of their spiritual imagination.
We’re witnessing on the streets of Paris a religious enchantment that’s very much alive in the hearts of people in France and around the world. It may not inspire religious revival but religious remembrance, brings us all back to a place where we made space for God in our lives.
And this, to occur during Holy Week is a narrative we can’t ignore: “We will rebuild” said French president Emmanuel Macron, a promise that the Lady will rise again. A reminder to us all that to fully appreciate the promise of hope – we must first experience the pain of loss.
We read in John 18 that before his arrest, Jesus said, “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
The loss of the world’s greatest cathedral has stirred an awareness in millions that Christ’s message has been a beacon of beauty over the human race for centuries.
And it reminds us this Easter that because of Jesus’ great love for us, we too will rise.