Instead of Brexit, the news has this week been dominated by the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. You may have wondered whether the timing of this fire, during ‘Holy Week’, as well as its particular location, have any special significance. Undoubtedly God can speak to us through all the circumstances of life. I did also note one French commentator’s main concern being very much the potential loss of unique, historic works of art and ‘medieval musicology acoustics’, as opposed to any thought of the building being a place of worship.
Clearly we would find very ‘difficult’ the thinking – and theology – behind the name, Notre Dame, Our Lady, with all the potential idolatry of the Virgin Mary. Surely we worship Notre Pere – our Father; indeed writing these words on Maundy Thursday I was particularly struck again by Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane and how He puts into practice His own teaching relating to the Lord’s / Disciples’ prayer:
- He addresses God as “My Father” (“Our Father”);
- He prays “not as I will, but as You will” (“Your will be done”); and
- He tells Peter, James and John to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (“lead us not into temptation”).
The great theme and reality of Notre Pere at Eastertime is further seen in Jesus’ last words on the cross “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”. Gloriously, three days later, God the Father raised His Son back to life.
We rejoice, therefore, and are filled with joy again as we celebrate Easter, that through the awful death and glorious resurrection of Jesus our relationship with Notre Pere can be totally restored. As a result we can share in and take great comfort from Jesus’ words to another Mary, Mary Magdalene: “I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God”.
Happy Easter and Peace and Grace