As news broke of the fire at Notre Dame, the world united in shock and sadness.
This Parisien icon had towered over the landscape for 850 years, and yet it now had succumbed to the power of fire.
Some might say it’s only a building, but there is a good reason why the citizens of Paris wept over its destruction.
For many, it was a place where they came to meet with God, and for others, it was a symbol of European Christianity.
For me, I was reminded of another, impressive place of worship that also suffered enormous destruction.
The Second Temple of Jerusalem was deliberately destroyed by Romans in 70AD, yet decades before, that Temple had become redundant as a place of worship.
For, at the very moment that Jesus died, the Bible records that the giant curtain of that temple was torn in two.
No longer was that stone building in Jerusalem to be the place to meet God, for now they would meet him in Jesus Christ.
For Jesus once said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” […] But when Jesus said, “this temple,” he meant his own body. (John 20:19,21)
It is natural for us to feel sentimental about our buildings, and it was right to be sad when Notre Dame and the Temple of Jerusalem were damaged or destroyed.
Yet, the greatest destruction was on the first Good Friday, when the Son of God was executed as an innocent man on behalf of those who trust in him.
However as promised, Jesus was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday, and with his resurrection comes a certain hope that can never perish, spoil or fade.
This Easter, as you reflect upon the fragility of life and the certainty of our own passing, it is a great time to trust in Jesus and enjoy the forgiveness he offers and the hope he promises.
Easter is a very special time to be at church because it’s the time when we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our services this Easter weekend are:
GOOD FRIDAY 9am: an all-age service to reflect on the death of Jesus for us.
EASTER SATURDAY 5pm: an all-age service with kids’ program, followed by dinner together.
EASTER SUNDAY 9am: a classic Anglican service followed by espresso morning tea.
On Friday, I’ll be preaching on how the death of Jesus is actually a great moment of injustice… but Jesus did it for us. It’s all about the two criminals on the crosses who died alongside Jesus from Luke chapter 23.
Then on Saturday and Sunday I’ll be preaching from John chapter 17 verses 20 to 26 where we find out what Jesus prayed for us on the night before he died, and why this changes everything.
On Saturday and Sunday we’ll include our weekly question and answer segment, and I’ll be answering these questions from last weekend:
1 What warnings does the Bible give about dreams?
2 How does God look down on everybody at the same time?
3 Is it God’s job to love us?
4 How did Jesus act under authority when he is the Father?
5 Do we believe that holy water will protect us from sickness?
6 If your relative goes to Hell, then will you feel sad?
7 Why didn’t Jesus tell Judas not to betray him?
8 Should we forgive Judas for his treachery?
9 Would you agree with Mikhail Gorbachev’s who said, “Even God didn’t create a perfect world; even God couldn’t cope with this society; I don’t think that was his plan”?
This is a very special weekend to join us for church, so we’d love to welcome you with us this Easter.
Grace and peace, Jodie McNeill.