I can hardly believe what I’m seeing on the screen. It just popped up, unexpectedly. Iconic Notre Dame Cathedral is burning. Not a small, controlled fire. The whole roof on fire and the majestic spire fallen. At this moment it is unknown to me whether or not the entire church will burn or not.
Have you been lucky enough to see it? Of all the beautiful architecture in Paris, nothing in my opinion surpasses the majesty of Notre Dame. I’m biased, I guess. Churches hold a special place in my heart. Sainte-Chapelle and Sacre Coeur are more intriguing churches for me, but Notre Dame has stood as a bastion of Christianity since it was completed in 1345. The build began in 1163. Imagine the dedication to building such an artifice for nearly 200 years.
If you’ve been inside that cathedral, you know the most prominent features are those enormous, rose-colored stained glass windows. And on the outside the famous flying buttresses.
Tari and I were there 5 years ago or so. It was a long line of tourists waiting to enter, but we felt like we absolutely HAD to wait and get inside. No, Notre Dame is not “holier” than any other church, but its beauty and history touch something deep inside.
If it does burn all the way to the ground, it’s difficult to imagine the French nation attempting to rebuild it as it was. I can’t conceive of the cost of trying to do so. But if it needs to be rebuilt, I hope they will. I’ll contribute to it. I would hope every Christian would. It is one of our “special places”.
Having said all that, we celebrate Easter this Sunday and if the Easter story tells us nothing else, it is that the love and glory of the risen Christ could not be contained in a tomb and it cannot be contained in a building - not even one as beautiful as Notre Dame.
Notre Dame may very well be no more. But the Christian story is very much alive. Jesus will be tried, beaten, and crucified this week. There’s no getting around the horror of that. But that’s not the whole story.
It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if this fire at Notre Dame is not the whole story there, either.