Recently China's popular social media WeChat has been jammed with the horrible news of of Notre Dame Cathedral on fire. From a Christian's feelings, it is absolutely unacceptable to see the world cultural heritage damaged just like that.
Early on the evening of 15, April, 2019, the famous Parisian landmark building was on fire. According to French press, the Paris Police explained the cause of the fire was perhaps related to the restoration work on site the cathedral. The fire caused the collapse of the pointed roof. The upper half of the left side of the roof was destroyed. The world famous therose windows were also damaged.
Today's Catholicism has deeply fallen into the centre of all kinds of public opinions across Euro-America. Today's Catholicism is no brighter than Hugo's Notre Dame Cathedral and may as well be darker.
In the novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Quasimodo ends temporarily the darkness and ugliness of the Church by self-sacrifice, a tragic death. In reality, an individual's power may shake nothing. It is often seen that the Church has turned into a giant machine sounding heavy and cumbersome humming.
In reality what caused the fire is yet to be confirmed. There has been lots of rumour online such as arson by extremists of other religion. Despite the authority has given explanation of an accident, suspicion and mistrust among the divided human society are inevitable.
Notre Dame Cathedral is a representative work of gothic architecture and sculpture of early Europe. It is the first gothic building of Paris. The reason why the Cathedral is famous is also because it is a cross-era symbol in European history. Before the cathedral, most church buildings were simple and blunt posing a sense of stress for visitors. Notre Dame had broken through the old restraints by demonstrating a brand new structure, which reduces the weight of the dome top so that more heights were achieved with ample light-no doubt the crystal of wisdom.
However, the sadness has occurred. No matter how unwilling the people are of the fire, what we can only do is reflecting on the past and moving ahead to future.
The French President has proclaimed that France will rebuild the cathedral meanwhile he urged the whole world to support their work. I think the rebuilding will not be long and we will see the newly restored world heritage again in the near future. It will inherit all the glory of the old cathedral continuously standing there.
Although many people lament that the restored cathedral is no match to the original, God has allowed the accident to occur just not long before Easter. Of course we should reflect whether the old has gone and all will start anew. "The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house," says the Lord Almighty. And in this place I will grant peace," declares the Lord Almighty.'
The church has been in Europe very long and seems to have turned into a stoop old lady portraying a weak and feeble image. We frequently encounter reports on the decline of the Church in Europe. As it is no smoke without fire even though we are not located in Europe, which has been the centre of Christianity, which needs certainly a reform and revival recharging power for this ancient belief to constantly bring influence to the world.
The proposed restoration cannot be said meaningless. While the fire is emotionless, the people are. The fire on the Cathedral is a disaster but also a chance, i.e., how to gain resurrection without dying first and how to be born again without being destroyed?
Originally, what Christianity community wants is to restore the past, but the fire has given us a smack on the face ruthlessly. We can never grow without cutting off from the glory of the past. Without ridding off the past sinful nature, we can never revive. A brand new world needs a brand new Christianity no matter spiritually or materially.
People think Quasimodo dies in a sad way, but he truly lives - without love he rather die. People think Jesus was crucified and died in shame, but he had sacrificed his life for the world and in three days had resurrected gloriously and constantly influences human civilization.
Today, we think Notre Dame Cathedral was destroyed by the ruthless fire, but will you believe it that soon under the watching of God and under the joint efforts of men, she will stand up again? Let us wait to hear countless stories of love in the current context of Europe.
The divided Europe needs a chance. Can people take this chance to turn the disaster into a blessing, tears into laughter, and sadness into joy? Let us pray for it!
- Translated by Charlie Li