Watching Notre Dame burn yesterday, I felt as though something of myself was being consumed. One year ago to the day, my husband and I were walking through this majestic cathedral, drinking in this masterpeice of faith and devotion, home to thousands of lovingly created works of art; a testimony to the devotion of generations and centuries of people. The destruction of so much beauty, history, and value brought me to tears. After spending the day in morose reflection, I have again found my faith. I see the images of smoke rising like incense as a prayer; a sacrifice, a reminder. Everything on this earth is fragile. No matter how beautiful, no matter how much human blood, sweat, and tears have been invested, everything on this Earth was made to die.
I also watched this church video yesterday about a man who backed up his truck and accidentally killed his nine year old son. The senseless and terrible loss of this child seemed to mirror the loss of Notre Dame, with obvious differences, of course. Still, whether a cathedral, a child, or even civic virtues like civility and honest; all loss feels the same. The sense of incredulity, the desperate wish to make it different, to change what is, to repair and restore what once was.
But eventually we must accept the reality; nothing in this world will last. Every creation that exists is temporary and fallen.
This week is a celebration of our Savior’s death and resurrection. We could not have the resurrection without the crucifixion. The horror and evil of the one makes the other the more glorious and transcendent. The longer I live, the more the resurrection means to me. I testified to my boys about the resurrection on Sunday and they just looked at me like, “What’s the big deal?” To me, it is everything.
The world considers anxiety and depression to be abnormalities; the result of a pathology. I consider them to be the natural state of a rational mind that is conscious of the fallen state we are in. Consider the sorrow! I have a good life with much joy and happiness, but I have lost two friends to untimely death in the last few years. I have a good friend who lost a sister to cancer a year ago. This same friend has lost a couple of sister-in-laws to cancer. All of these people were young mothers and fathers with families. I have a friend from college whose twin sons died hours after birth. My parents will likely pass away in the next fifteen years. Ben’s dad died of cancer a couple of years ago. Each time I read the news, see the images of suffering around the world, contemplate on the vast capacity of mankind to commit atrocity upon his fellow creatures; the despair within me grows. Of course it does! How could it not?
Perhaps that is why the song, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” in our MCO concert last weekend hit me with such force. I had never heard the Rob Gardner arrangement before, but the words combined with the inspired music seemed to resonate within my heart strings like the bow on a violin.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Each day that I live in this fallen world, I have to keep that hope before me. It is more than a good feeling; it keeps me alive. It is the only way I can bare the thought of living in this world another day. Satan did his worst to Jesus Christ. He combined all his cunning and all his evil; all his power and all his might. Like the fire that burned through the cathedral, there was nothing left when he was finished. There was the shell of a man that once gave life and light to everyone he made contact with. He was dead. Murdered. He was innocent and pure, and yet they killed him. They had won.
Then in three days, he rose again. He conquered death and sin! Not only that, he promised that all that believe on him will also live. Though Satan’s power rages against us. Though evil and darkness gathers like the cloud above Notre Dame. Though the fires of evil, lies, and contention rip through our national fabric destroying so much of value; yet He is Mighty to Save! He can restore! He can bring back what was lost. It is this faith that brings me out of the depths of despair.
For this nation, for this world, I hold the torch of faith and hope aloft. He is the way, the truth, and the life. All those who own him Lord and come unto Him will survive the evil day. There is no man, woman, or child who is shut out from his tender mercies. This is my faith. This is my testimony, born from the flames of Notre Dame.