Today, on the Monday of the Holiest of Weeks for Christians, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is burning. My Twitter feed repetitively showed the spire on fire and toppling over. I turned it off because watching it was scarring my soul.
An on-fire crumbling steeple of a structure like this one seems too hard to take in. It was built in the 13th century and has stood for God’s steadfast love and faithfulness in all times. A building but so much more. A landmark for Paris but so much more.
Lately it seems that so many things we believed would stand forever are crumbling: institutions, morals, decency, our earth.
For others on a more individual level, life is crumbling because of a diagnosis or loss. Sometimes it is a relationship that topples over or our trust in someone or something that gets ransacked.
I turned my feed back on later and saw something else this time, the crowd gathered around the structure kneeling and singing hymns. Kneeling. Singing hymns.
Those people did not know each other. I’m sure they likely didn’t speak the same language or share specific religious ties. I’m sure no one was leading the crowd in this way.
Even as the burning continued another kind of new life stirred in that crowd.
The singing that rises from tragedy, loss and crumbling steeples of all kinds is the essence of the Spirit of God. It is the resurrection faith. It is the message of Holy Week. It is why on Easter Sunday, despite what happens in the meantime, we find our wavering voices and sing.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa/Mocha to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor.