Yesterday the world lost a beautiful piece of art and history. The burning of Notre Dame has affected many very deeply and today I wanted to share the thoughts its loss brought to both me and my good friend. The first piece is her’s, the second mine, and the photos belong to another good friend of ours.
as the great cathedral falls,
so our hearts do with it.
melding into the caverns,
fire and stone clash
until I cannot tell where one begins
and the other starts.
soot and ash
stir on the marble flooring,
I hear a lingering echo across the ribbed vault:
800 years ago, 200 years of labor,
standing against neglected eyes, desecration and revolution,
and with one flick of a flame
it all crumbles down.
mourning souls sing aloud,
waiting for the morning
and with it a hope that the flames
will die out with the night.
The Infinite Becomes Finite
A spark caught fire in Notre Dame today, the ancient cathedral was engulfed in flames. They curled around its spirals and blackened its shining gray, shortened its towers and left a skeleton in their place.
Man is but dust and how much less the work of his hands. Almost a thousand years of history fallen into embers. How strange how swiftly our grandest works are reduced to ashes, how easily the infinite becomes finite.
It’s peaks pointed to heaven, its buttresses and archways too. They have collapsed now. In a few hours gone the towers of hundreds of years. How quickly the infinite becomes finite.
Establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands.
“But it’s more than lost carpentry, isn’t it, that we mourn? We mourn the violation (by fire! during Holy Week!) of a sacred space, a symbol of the universal church, even though in the present moment that church is neither very universal nor universally regarded. We mourn the destruction of a space so beautiful that to describe it in words makes the best writers despair of their impoverished vocabularies. We mourn that nothing lasts. We want something to last.” – Why We Were Undone by the Notre-Dame Fire
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!