Like most of you, I saw the tragic fire at Notre Dame in Paris, France on the news this week. I was profoundly saddened at this sight, which kind of surprised me, to be honest. I’m not Catholic and I’ve never been to Notre Dame and never really had any particular desire to go there, so the depth of my feeling at seeing it burn took me off guard. It struck me as being a holy place, and seeing it burn, not knowing if they’d be able to save any of it, I got all choked up. When I saw the Parisians gathering and crying and singing “Ave Maria” as they watched the fire, I could no longer hold back the tears.
As with all tragedies, however, there were good things that came out of the fire at Notre Dame. There was a line of heroes who passed many pieces of art and Christian artifacts hand over hand all the way from Notre Dame to the Louvre where they could be kept safe. They were able to save the Crown of Thorns that was used to torment our Lord, and they were able to save a piece of wood and a nail that were thought to be part of His cross. I wept when I saw that those items had been saved – they’re truly irreplaceable and are important to all Christians around the world.
It has also been encouraging to see people’s determination to see Notre Dame rebuilt and restored. France’s President Marcon has pledged to have it done within the next five years, which seems like a very ambitious goal. To date, over $1 billion has been pledged to help with the rebuilding efforts. I have the feeling that no matter how much damage has been done to this majestic cathedral, the determination of the French people to rebuild it will prevail, no matter what it costs them.
This whole process with Notre Dame reminds me of how the disciples must have felt as Christ died on the cross and then was resurrected. Although Jesus had tried to prepare them for what was to come, the disciples lacked understanding of what was happening. They did not gather to sing hymns at the foot of the cross as Jesus suffered and died – they were too busy running for their lives. Their despair at His death was complete; they had no hope and quickly lost sight of their purpose. However, once the resurrection happened and they finally saw Him for themselves, they were ecstatic. Even after Jesus returned to Heaven, the disciples knew what their purpose was and they could not be deterred from it, no matter what it cost them.
This Easter, I’ll be worshiping with my family and reflecting on my purpose and what obstacles threaten to keep me from pursuing it. I’ll be thanking Jesus on this holiest of days for His rescue of me. I’ll be looking forward to being with Him for all eternity in my REAL home one day soon. How will you spend yours? I pray you will encounter Him richly. Happy Easter, my friends!