Flames consuming the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral caused millions of people around the world to stand still this week. When the spire then collapsed, there was only awestruck silence to see falling the symbol of what had taken hundreds of years to build.
I stood transfixed with tears flowing. I couldn’t even sit as I watched the television images of this magnificent church and iconic landmark burn. It stood as a monument to great faith, great minds, great inspiration.
I have visited Paris only once but Notre Dame was at the top of the must-see list right there with the Eiffel Tower.
As much as we mourn the loss, we must remember what King Solomon learned after he built the magnificent and matchless temple in Jerusalem. There is no satisfaction in things. After searching for meaning, Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes – that soulful, despairing examination of life. After pondering all that he had accomplished – wealth so great that silver wasn’t even valuable; knowledge greater than any human before or since; accumulation of land, property, and people – he concluded it is all pointless.
As beautiful as Notre Dame was, and as long as it stood intact, there was no guarantee that it would last forever. Solomon didn’t live to see his temple destroyed, but it was. Man’s achievements are not eternal.
God’s are. Commentators have reflected on the irony of Notre Dame burning during Holy Week. Maybe we should look at the timing as a chance to reflect. I don’t think God caused the cathedral fire, but I believe that we can learn important lessons after tragedies.
Observance of Holy Week reminds us of what is eternal. God loves us so much that He made the greatest sacrifice to ensure our eternal life with Him. Worshipers won’t be able to enter Notre Dame maybe for years but we don’t need a cathedral to fall before God and accept His gift to us – life everlasting in His presence by accepting that Jesus chose God’s will and then overcame death.
Solomon finally concluded that there is hope. “Fear God and keep His commandments,” Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “for this is the whole duty of man.” NIV
It is the week to ask if we are putting our hope in things that can be destroyed by fire, flood, rust, and decay, or are we investing in eternity. We have witnessed ourselves what Isaiah recorded: “The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 4:8 NLT
In the New Testament, the Son of God promises “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
On this day which is the beginning of Passover, when God began the journey to save His people, and is Good Friday, when God again offered a plan to save His people, let us remember what Paul writes In Romans 15:13: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.”