The fire that has extensively damaged Notre Dame in Paris has caught the attention of many of us.
The shock that we are experiencing gives new meaning to a hymn written by Nicholas Grundtvig as he remembered the ruins of the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, destroyed in 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars.
The destruction of an iconic building like Notre Dame reminds us that God’s Church shall prevail. That is what we celebrate this Holy Week. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again!
Perhaps you want to join me in singing this great hymn in honor of Notre Dame and the many Christians who have gathered there over the centuries to celebrate our Savior’s victory.
1. Built on the Rock the Church doth stand,
Even when steeples are falling;
Crumbled have spires in every land,
Bells still are chiming and calling,
Calling the young and old to rest,
But above all the soul distrest,
Longing for rest everlasting.
2. Surely in temples made with hands,
God, the Most High, is not dwelling;
High above earth His temple stands,
All earthly temples excelling.
Yet He whom heavens cannot contain
Chose to abide on earth with men,
Built in our bodies His temple.
3. We are God's house of living stones,
Builded for His habitation;
He through baptismal grace us owns
Heirs of His wondrous salvation.
Were we but two His name to tell,
Yet He would deign with us to dwell,
With all His grace and His favor.
4. Here stands the font before our eyes
Telling how God did receive us;
The altar recalls Christ's sacrifice
And what His table doth give us;
Here sounds the Word that doth proclaim
Christ yesterday, today, the same,
Yea, and for aye our Redeemer.
5. Grant then, O God, where'er men roam,
That, when the church-bells are ringing,
Many in saving faith may come
Where Christ His message is bringing:
"I know Mine own, Mine own know Me;
Ye, not the world, My face shall see.
My peace I leave with you." Amen.
Source: Peter Panitzke, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran in Muskego, Wisconsin