As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” (Mark 13:1)
On April 15, 2019, the great Parisian cathedral, Notre Dame, burst into flames. Investigators determined that the incident was not intentional but was likely related to extensive renovations begun the previous year. By the time the fire was extinguished, the church’s spire and wooden roof were completely destroyed. Fortunately, the renovations responsible for the catastrophe also contributed to the salvation of many precious artifacts, which had been removed from the building prior to the fire’s outbreak.
This event was not the first threat to Notre Dame. Now more than 850 years old, the building barely survived from the French Revolution. In 1793, the beautiful house of Christian worship was invaded by the state and rededicated to the atheistic “Cult of Reason.” Many of its relics were then smashed, melted down, or discarded.
Notre Dame is worth millions, but its significance to the once-widespread Christian movement in Europe is priceless. In a way, the building’s struggle to withstand both internal decay and a rapidly changing culture, mirrors the decline of Christianity and the advancement of secularism in Western civilization. For followers of Christ, Notre Dame’s trials may seem like a metaphor for their own struggle to worship God in an increasingly godless, antireligious society. Yet, God’s Word will always be true, and his power remains unshakable—regardless of what else falls.
Trust in God’s Word, not human structures.
Laura Hurd is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and holds a master’s degree from Wesley Seminary. She co-pastors with her husband, Jason, in rural Nebraska.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.