Rev. Helen Kirk: April 2019
Like many of you I watched the spectacle of Notre Dame engulfed in flames on the rolling news on the tv the other evening. Astonishing and dreadful images as a devastating fire ripped through a historic building, gobbling up everything before it, regardless of its importance or cultural significance. It seemed the whole of Paris watched in horror and the whole of the world sent messages of condolence to a nation in mourning, for this was no mere building but an iconic structure that represented the heart of France.
I went to bed that evening with a heavy heart expecting that when I woke there would be no more Notre Dame.
However, the morning brought hope: although the roof & steeple were gone much of the structure had survived; artefacts had been recovered and the talk of rebuilding had already begun. There was though, one image that was astounding: in the early hours of the morning President Macron & his entourage had been allowed to enter the cathedral to view the damage and one of his aides had snapped a picture of the altar, now burnt to ashes, surrounded by rubble and swimming in water. However, above the altar, caught in the beam of the arc lights outside, hung a cross that shone defiantly in the midst of such devastation.
As a Christian minister I have seen much devastation, not burnt out buildings but broken lives: relationships gone wrong; lives taken through illness or accident; the affects of abuse or addiction; the loss that is an unavoidable part of our humanity. People ask me how I can still have a faith, and to be honest, at times I do wonder. But then I remember that my faith is not in quick answers or easy solutions; my faith is not in a God who waves a magic wand and makes everything better nor one who promises a fairy-tale ending to every disappointment. No, my faith is in a God who promises to be present — in the midst of pain and awfulness, sorrow and loss. 'I will be with you' is the simple promise that runs through the Bible. Perhaps this promise of an ever-present love, once shown on a cross on a hill 2000 years ago is also found in a cross shining in the midst of a burnt-out church. Perhaps this is a promise for us too — whoever we are and whatever we are dealing with. May we find hope & strength in the one who promises to be with us.
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
Richard reflects on aspects of this passage about the angelic visitor that Paul speaks of in Acts 12:1-18.Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison1 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he...
Cornelius and the account of him in Acts 10:1-47, is Ken's topic today.Cornelius Calls for Peter1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly...
We have now passed the 250 mark of Thought For The Day (TFTD) videos produced by Richard and his ministerial and local preacher colleagues. They have all been scheduled to be available from 5am and the vast majority have been. However, recently, due to technical problems our website provides are working on, this has not been possible. So for the next few weeks, we will aim to ensure that if you...
Online from the manse
Online from the manse
Streamed funeral from church via this website