The fire at Notre Dame is out and we are beginning to see pictures of the damage…which, while horrific, is not as severe as everyone feared. Some of the significant works of art and relics were saved, and the main organ appears to have survived. The smaller organ may not have been as fortunate, but that is yet to be determined. And it appears that what is left of the cathedral is structurally sound.
Praise God for the firefighters who battled for hours, sometimes risking their lives, to save as much as possible of the cultural, artistic, and spiritual symbol.
And I am grateful for the many people who have stepped up to donate for the rebuilding of Notre Dame.
But it also makes me wonder.
What is it about this building that has caused such an outpouring of financial support?
What about the many other needs? These are just a few:
- The black churches in Georgia that were burned because of white nationalism?
- The people of Puerto Rico who are still struggling to recover from their last hurricane?
- The people of Flint, many of whom still do not have clean water?
- The immigrants who are trying to find a better life for their families, but who instead have often found their families torn apart and still have not been reunited?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t help Notre Dame. But if Notre Dame calls us to worship Christ, then that call is to
- feed the hungry.
- visit the sick and those in prison.
- clothe the naked.
- take in the stranger.
Buildings are important symbols…but they are just that. If their meaning is of value, then we need to live out what they call us to.