Lese Majesty Notre Dame Cathedral

notre dame
(Photo credit LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)

     This is the image that blazed across our local newspaper in Colorado Springs this morning. Like many of us, it pierced my heart. I’m not that much a religious person, but I am a genuine Christian, one who doesn’t strap his faith onto the rest of his life; rather one who integrates his faith into everything he does.

     What struck me about this picture, being part art historian, is the juxtaposition of the alter, the cross, the statue of Mary holding her son Jesus, with the total devastation that lay at their feet. What a depiction of our present world’s quandary.

     Within less than 3 days of this tragedy, almost one billion dollars has been raised to rebuild this Parisian landmark. Pledges have poured in from across the world, from small churches in Arkansas, to major European conglomerates, to individuals, to tycoons, to common folk.  This incredible generosity bespeaks of the love and honor that people held for this global landmark— this personification of Paris. As one Parisian said,

 “Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations.” [https://wnep.com/2019/04/15/first-photos-show-damage-inside-notre-dame-cathedral/]

May God bless all those who are contributing to the restoration of this majestic icon of Western Civilization!

     But what of the ruble that lay at the foot of the cross, at the feet of Jesus? These are the 850 year old oak beams that held the roof of the cathedral, now devastated and burned. What can replace them? Surely not more oak beams. But what?

     In so many ways this is an image of our postChristian world. A billion dollars will easily repair the cathedral, but what of the lives of people who have lost faith in their church, in their personal relationship and trust in God? What of them? What will become of them? A billion dollars doesn’t come near to rebuilding or restoring, their faith.

     I put it to you that genuine Christians around the world have a responsibility to reexamine their faith in the God of the universe who has created and who will restore all things to an greater glory, even greater than this glorious Notre Dame. We have the responsibility to repair and rebuild the faith of so many who have lost faith in Christ in these pluralistic and often convoluted times.

     So as we contribute to repairing this magnificent cathedral, may we also spend some time, and money, rebuilding others’ lives, to honor God, in Christ Jesus. May this tragedy remind us again of our mission to bring this broken, charred world to the offer of a new life in the Lord who sustains it all— Jesus Christ!

A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so everyone would have life, and have it fully.
[John 10:10 CEV]

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

Gary

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Transparent Truth

  In our present era there seem to be all kinds of truths; convenient truth, relative truth, truth, Truth, your truth, my truth…, & the list goes on. What’s true for you may not be true for me. In the realms of personal preference, in fashion, and politics, this is all well and good.  But…

What about the issue of Ultimate Truth? The conclusion of many people is that there is no such thing. Truth is determined between the interplay of truth, the experience of the moment, and the individual; thus, relegating Truth, true-Truth, any truth, to the realm of relativity.

This leaves us on quite unstable ground; for there is no common understanding about what we are talking about, no shared definition of what we mean by what is trueSo, what is true? Who’s to say? Truth becomes whatever is convenient for us at the moment. Liberators or invading forces? Comforter or manipulator? Scientific breakthrough or stating the obvious? A matter of perspective.

Truth, for the most part, should be obvious— staring us in the face. Maybe not so much at a cellular or galactic level; we might need some help delving into those mysteries. But TRUTH should be part of the basic human condition, existing within us, observable around us.

Truth should be, and is, transparent to the keen eye.

            So how/when did we start redefining truth in our own terms? Why did we feel the need to do so? Is it simply a matter of divergent philosophies, divergent religions? Or merely personal preferences; Truth that suits my agenda, my priorities. Then is it Truth at all? Truth, just for you?

            I would challenge you to examine the way you determine what is true. What is true scientifically? What is true about the origin of the universe? [The newest theory is that the universe “created” itself.] What is true about yourself? What describes you to others? What is true about God? Is there one? Can we adequately describe everything without him? Hummm.

            Oddly, some of these questions will take in depth study and personal reflection; a few deep conversations over a dram of Single Malt might also help elucidate things.

            Truth can arise to become more and more transparent as we seek it. It is not as clear-cut anymore to simply grasp it where it is. Over time, Truth’s transparency will become more obvious.

            What do you think?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary