Simply Paris

The spring has been busy.  Lot of the normal stuff related to chaplaincy - chapel services, visitation, counseling, and events targeting strengthening resiliency.  Last month was a real treat with the weather and my family was able to enjoy a nice warm week in Paris.  If not for family I probably would never have traveled to Paris. But I found some nice surprises there.  I have admired the grace and simplicity of ancient Greek culture and so enjoyed laying eyes on some ancient Greek sculpture that rests in Paris. 

 There is something about the ancient eternal beauty that communicates through the ages in the marble.  A civilization that laid the foundation for much of western civilization lays in the dust but signs remain of its ancient grandeur.  Signs continue to reside among us not only in marble but in our very values and ways of looking at the world around us and understanding who we are.

Long after the hands that carved these statues, long after people saw the beauty of the world around them and visioned it to recast it into stone, long after the minds that grasped and externalized such truths as "you can't step in the same river twice" have turned to dust - the echoes of truth and what is real remains.

In the white marble carved by ancient hands echoes a reminder, a song, that truth remains - something eternal, something beautiful there is about the world around us.
Notre Dame on the other hand felt dark and cold, hardly the warm welcoming hand of God that I had expected.  Instead it still felt grasped strong in the clutches of old superstition and dogma, a religion of terror and reward based on merit and work rather than of love and mercy.   Outside the cathedral had radiated an inviting pull calling one to come inside.  But so dark, almost oppressive.  The only hint of goodnews in the face of spiritual distress was in the cluster of Easter Lillies still blooming near the altar.
 
In contrast the Pantheon radiated light, but a light of a different kind.  A pro-reason, humanist light.  Monuments to philosophers long and recently dead towered above.  But observing the visitors, I found myself pondering how many can remember even one thing that Voltaire taught, one thing that Rousseau
 believed, or Victor Hugo.  Who can remember without turning to Wikipedia or some such resource?  The influence wanes and turns to dust and all that is left is the marble.

But even in this temple to humanism echoes an ancient simple wondrous truth.  God loves His creation.  God loves His children created in His image.  So much that He Himself took on human flesh and lived among us.  His name was Jesus.  And the simple clear truth that echoes across the age is still heard amongst the noise and confusion of the world.  In Christ there is mercy.  In Christ there is forgiveness.  In Christ there is love and eternal life.  Time does not win.  Decay does not win.  Death does not win.  Easter Lillies in the darkness of Notre Dame and an old painting remaining in the Pantheon remind us that He is risen and now reigns and He shall come again.