By: Jana Greene
Yesterday, the Cathedral at Notre Dome burned down for the most part. The building is said to be counted as a near total loss. It is physically painful to look at the images coming from Paris.
You’ve probably seen the picture making the rounds of the golden cross and altar still standing at Notre Dame. Somehow, some way.
I’m not one of those people to ascribe to the following line of dogma: Betty Jo died in a horrific car accident, and only the Bible in her back seat survived completely unharmed! I used to think that was big guns, until I acknowledged the niggling question in my soul, “Yeah, but what about Betty Jo? Surely God cares more for her than a book!”
And he does. I know he does.
As humans, we like to equate beautiful with holy. It seems natural, doesn’t it? We like signs and wonders, and when possible, like to make our own and wait for God to admire our handiwork.
On a trip to New York City many years ago, I visited Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. A more beautiful place I have never seen. As my group toured, there was respectful silence, but for me, there were tears. I couldn’t bear it. Even years later, I skip a breath in considering the majesty.
My prevailing thought is now what it was then, “If puny men can make something so beautiful, Oh my GOD, what can YOU do?”
Notre Dame was stunningly beautiful. I am sorry I’ve never seen it in person, but the pictures alone make me skip a breath just like St. Patrick’s Cathedral. That a place so radiantly stunning could be built by human hands is astonishing. That a place so beautiful could be leveled with flame is heart-breaking.
As Paris mourns, there still is God.
In the muck and mire, soot and ash.
I’m not sure that God saved the Cross at Notre Dame as a sign or a wonder. I see signs and wonders in a lot of innocuous things. I like to think he did, but I also don’t believe he is a God of destruction, or had anything to do with it burning in the first place….
Still, it’s a stunning visual, isn’t it? It speaks to my heart today, as dramatically as the walls that cloistered it. I find that rubble is so relatable. No matter how majestic, things crumble. I crumble, too.
Yet, when I crumble, there is Christ.
Wherever ivory towers fall, there is Christ.
Wherever beautiful things lie in rubble, there is Christ.
There is Christ, always, in the midst.
A million stained glass windows cannot outshine him. No stone foundation is more steady.
Be reminded of this as you wade through whatever rubble is breaking your gait and tripping you up. And no power in heaven or earth can keep him from lifting you out.
Praying for you, Paris.
Praying for all of us, world.