As Holy Week began, we watched Notre Dame burn. As the fire raged, we watched works of art incinerated, history and heritage swallowed by the flames.
The cross was on our mind. We had just read the Passion on Palm Sunday. We had set our faces like flint and looked towards Jerusalem and the cross. And yet, as the smoke poured into a gray sky, we wept for all that was lost.
Among the ashes, a cross remained. It served as a stark reminder of why Cathedrals were built in the first place, why we fashion stone and glass into rose windows, why we labor day after day for something greater, something beautiful, something just, and something holy.
That glowing cross amidst the ashes reminds us that the heart of Holy Week is a wounded heart. And as only a wounded heart can, it embraces the suffering and tragedies of a broken world.
We are reminded especially during Holy Week that we praise, worship, and adore a God who chooses to dwell among the the lowest, all those loose ends and bitter mistakes we’ve made, all those hurts we’ve inflicted upon others and upon ourselves. God, in the suffering and Passion of Christ, reaches right into these wounds and heals us.
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”
In a burning Cathedral, we can find a symbol of God’s immanence with us in our suffering. And glowing amid the ashes, we are invited into still greater life.