Like many in the world I watched the news as Notre Dame Cathedral burned.
My heart was heavy as I thought of 850 years of history going up in smoke. The beauty of the architecture destroyed. Priceless artwork destroyed. Ancient artifacts and relics destroyed. Although I have never been there, I felt the pain for the millions of people who have passed through the doors year after year. I felt the pain for those who gathered there to worship regularly. I felt the pain for those who live in Paris and took great pride in their world known cathedral.
I thought about my Catholic friends and tried to understand what they must have felt watching the images of the burning cathedral. Grief after a great loss must have been the theme for the day. I was watching the sadness as Wolf Blitzer, whose parents were Jewish refugees from Auschwitz, reported. He was speaking to a reporter on the scene who was detailing the fire, the tragedy, the loss, and trying to bring some hope to the hopeless situation.
Blitzer then asked, "Is that singing in the background?" The on the scene reported that many were in the streets watching the fire and singing. Then suggested "Let's just pause for a moment and listen to the hymns." The camera man began to pan the crowd. Some were crying. Some were praying. Some were standing in shock. But almost all of them were singing. It was a powerful moment for me.
Once again, I was reminded that the Church is not buildings but in the hearts of people. As the flames burned, they were singing praises to God. Many church buildings have burned to the ground, decayed into history, left vacant, and been destroyed. But the Church is still very much alive and well. Even in places where the Church is forbidden believers still gather in quiet places, not large cathedrals, and sing.
The church is not the building....It is in the hearts of those who believe.....It will never be destroyed.
This is my story...