Yesterday, many of us saw the news reports about Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was a sad sight to see a building of such beauty and historical significance consumed by the ashes. It is even more sad to see this take place during Holy Week.
I was quickly drawn the words of Jesus:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, ESV)
I am reminded that our faith is not in structures, buildings, nor dead religion. Our faith is a living faith in a God who raises the dead and pulls us up out of the ashes.
Unfortunately, the burning of Notre Dame is largely a symbol of Christianity in Europe. Cathedrals and church buildings often serve more as historical museums than centers for living faith. America is not far behind. Church buildings are becoming empty shells as thousands of churches close their doors every year. We can be saddened by this loss.
But I can’t help but be reminded of what was lost on Holy Week so many years ago. Jesus died. It must have seemed like the end for the disciples. Their world was devastated. But it turned out that it was only the beginning. Little did the disciples realize the surprise that was coming on Easter Sunday.
God is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. To become great, he tells us to become a servant. To become rich, he tells us to give away what we have. It is in humility that we receive strength. And it is out of death that he brings life. What seems like defeat to us is the means through which Christ brings victory.
It is when we think something is so great that God will take it from us to give us something greater. For those of faith, our trust and our hope is that through every loss, Christ will build and birth something greater. God has a way of taking our greatest losses in life and turns them into incredible kingdom victories.