Crowds looked on in shock as flames swept through the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame ‘the Soul of Paris’ said one report. Some wept, other knelt in prayer, while rich men searched for their cheque books.
Grenfell Tower stands alone, embalmed, in Central London. Coventry Cathedral, bombed during the Second World War. In the debris nails were recovered that were formed in what is known as the Cross of Nails. It now symbolises the ministry of reconciliation.
Replicas have been presented to groups in various parts of the world in recognition of their involvement in reconciling work.
As we reflect on these and other events disturbing our world today what do they signify? Particularly as the result of the Easter Story. Two hymns are worth considering: First a hymn of celebration by John Bowring in the 19th Century, ‘In the cross of Christ I glory towering over the wrecks of time’.
And a contemporary hymn from Brian Wren:
‘Here hangs a man discarded,
a scarecrow hoisted high,
a nonsense pointing nowhere
to all who hurry by.
Can such a clown of sorrows
still bring a useful word
where faith and love seem phantoms
and every hope absurd?
Lord, if you are now risen
help all who long for light.
To hold the hand of promise
and walk into the night.