Out of the Ashes
(Posted April 19, 2019 -- Good Friday)
Last Monday we were just preparing to read the account of Good Friday in our Bible Study when the news that fire had gripped Notre Dame Cathedral reached us. A palpable pall settled over the room, as we watched the out-of-control flames lick wooden beams that had been placed lovingly together by artisan hands 800 years before. The Cathedral was not merely an icon of Catholicism. Its age and its contribution to the history of France and of Christianity and culture made it a singular structure in all the world. It belonged to all of us.
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It wasn’t long before the people and the press who watched helplessly as Notre Dame burned repeated the same mournful words…. “How horrible! And just think! Of all weeks for this to happen, it would be Holy Week.” I did begin to think. What other week of the year fits more aptly into the recurring story of loss and redemption than this? The Cathedral was the repository of all that is sacred to so many, the place where so many visitor memories have been made. Pilgrimages have ended on this island in the Seine, vocations and saintly paths have been started there. A great writer used it as the backdrop for his classic story about people … about deformed heroes and an unacceptable tribe of people, for whom love saves good from evil. Symbolically and even geographically, Notre Dame was the center of so many lives. So many people watched. So many people have been motivated to change things. This darkness will not be the end of the story. The people who loved her wouldn’t have it any other way. Let us make all things new.
What other week then, is more fitting, when we watch the man who was the repository of light for the hurting world captured, crucified, his form reduced to the broken beams of humanity scorched by evil? So many people watched. So many people were motived by his death and YES--- his Resurrection--- that the world began to change. And still it does today. Nearly two millennia have passed by and still his light shines forth in the world. Even his cross – the supposed symbol of defeat – shines brightly today among the ashes and desolation of people’s lives. Because HE gave us the triumph of Easter morning. The people who loved him won’t have it any other way. Let us make all things new in Jesus’ name. AMEN -- Pastor Pat