Out of the ashes comes the cry, “We will rebuild!” This was said after the mass murders in New York City on 9-11. It is said after devastating earthquakes and floods. And this week it was said after fire gutted Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
“We will rebuild.”
As with many of these events, there begins a sense of disbelief and even denial of the tragedy. Then reality sets in and the question, “What do we do now?”
“We will rebuild.”
Folks arrive to help the clean-up. Money is given to purchase supplies. Builders arrive and begin their tasks. Restoration begins.
A very short time passes, and then negative voices are heard; the sideline crowds of judges and dissenters arrive. But the work continues, for we will rebuild.
Such has been the case this week. Notre Dame was in flames, folks couldn’t believe it, reality set in, workers arrived, and money was raised. We will rebuild. And the dissenters “arrived” as well. Condescending posturing filled social and mass media. “Don’t rebuild; it’s not that valuable,” and “Don’t waste your time and money on restoration. Here’s how I want you to spend your money.”
Some say, “The tragedy is made worse because it happened on Easter week.” I disagree; if it had to happen, it could not have happened at a better time. This time of year is the most focused of the Christian calendar. Oh yes, Christmas is a bigger event, but the tributes to the Christ Child are often buried in the cultural muddle. As much as the culture tries to materialize Easter, it still maintains some reverence.
Easter will not be cancelled this year. And perhaps, this will remind us that God does not live in a church. Easter gives all who choose it, access to the inner temple. God’s temple is now us, not a building.
I love the old cathedrals; they are art that point heavenward, but God does not live in them.
There is an old hymn that proclaims, “A mighty fortress is our God.” Too many have rewritten that to say, “A mighty fortress is our church building.”
Folks do need a place to go. Churches are, and have within them, symbolism to direct us heavenward. But they are buildings. And Notre Dame is one of the best! Let’s rebuild it, remembering all along…
God is our fortress!
We are His church!
We are His Notre Dame!
And we too can get damaged. Life can bog us down. Sin from within or pressures from without can burn away much of us. Folks will jeer you and “your god.” But God remains constant and through Him we can proclaim, “We will build again.” The walk of the Christian is a constant hope of redemption, a constant promise that God can restore. That is the main purpose of Easter. That is the cost of the crucifixion and the hope of the resurrection.
The whole concept of redemption is our hope that, because of our Savior on the Cross followed by His glorious resurrection, we can always rebuild.
“We will rebuild!”