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  • Writer's pictureHeather Morrison-Tapley

Rising From the Ashes

This isn't the Easter post I've had swirling around in my head this week - and maybe I'll post that later. But the burning of Notre Dame has profoundly effected almost all of us, whether we ever made it to the majestic cathedral in person, or not. I was fortunate enough to live and work in Paris for a year and walked by, and into, that breathtaking, ancient building many times. It was almost physically painful to watch it burn, 13th century roof timbers collapsing, wood that had been touched and placed by hands of people we can only imagine - working in the 1200s to build that physical prayer to God. Then this morning, already, the good stories are appearing - a hero priest saved the portion of the Crown of Thorns said to have been worn by Christ himself on Good Friday. A human chain of firefighters, police, and priests handed out priceless, irreplaceable relics and shepherded them to safety. Millions of Euros already pledged to rebuild her just as she was. And it all seems more meaningful during this week - Easter week. The holiest week in the Christian calendar. A week that is all about death, destruction, and rising again. Rising from the dead. Indestructible. Eternal. This is the enormous gift of ritual in our cultures, all of them. That we celebrate the wonderful moments (weddings, holidays) but that we can also create meaning and find a way to understand the devastating events (loss, grief). Already the conversation is that Our Lady will rise again. That where there is destruction, there is new beginning. Where there is death, there is rebirth - whether that be Christian rebirth celebrated with Easter, reincarnation celebrated by other religions, or the rebirth of the earth, flowers, trees, animals, at Spring. This is the season to celebrate renewal, survival, rebirth. As people gathered in the streets last night singing ancient hymns as they watched Notre Dame burn, I felt so strongly that what holds us up in times of sorrow, and what gives meaning to otherwise senseless suffering, is ritual. Like a mini instruction booklet for the ups and downs of life: In this moment, we sing. In this moment we feast. In this moment we pray. In this moment we light candles. The famous rose stained glass window survived the fire, the rose the symbol of love. So I, along with most of the world, send love to this sacred building as we will soon watch it rise again, just as the Easter story tells us all things will. #Easter #GoodFriday #NotreDame #Paris #stonefeatherfire #ritual #jesus #healing #inspiration

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