Opinion: Rebuilding Notre Dame

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 10.34.18 AMHopefully the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral is not news to anyone. I don’t try to cover breaking news and share you heard it hear first stories because many times the first things you hear are wrong. Now that everyone has had a chance to hear and digest the facts, and many people have shared their opinion, I would like to reflect on a few things.

1) I think it’s good that this story matters to people. The people of Paris immediately announced they would rebuild. Salma Hayek and her billionaire husband have famously pledged $113 million toward the restoration effort and that’s just for starters. Media outlets continue to report the story and new developments in the story. Even as the world becomes increasingly secularized, and considering that Europe perhaps France in particular is leading the way, we recognize that a place of faith is important.

2) There are not any trees in France large enough to replace the roof of the cathedral. Looking up toward the ceiling was like looking at a forest. The fact that some of those timbers were 850 years old had a lot to do with the fact the roof went up like a box of matches. The new structure may resemble the design of the original but will likely be made of modern materials. Perhaps wooden veneers could emulate the original appearance while hiding steel and modern building materials underneath.

3) Fun fact: Victor Hugo’s classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame has seen a surge of popularity this week on Amazon France. I don’t even know what to make of that fact but… it is interesting.

4) And now my rant, which is really the point I wanted to make in writing this post. As mentioned, announcements to repair and rebuild were made almost immediately. Every social media post you can find on this story with a comment section has detractors. “There are hungry people in the world right now.” “They’re spending millions of dollars on this building while real people need real help.” My question is What have you done lately to help the poor or feed the hungry? If you have not recently given money or given of your time to feed the hungry, then your criticism is hypocritical. There are always people that begrudge the generosity of others while doing nothing themselves. If all you do is identify the problem, without offering a solution, then you are complaining. The word for that is complaining.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:1-8 ESV via Bible Gateway

When Judas complained about the waste of resources that could have been devoted to the poor, Jesus replied that we always have the poor with us. The fact that other people have donated to other charitable causes has not harmed you or interfered with your personal ministry in any way. If you want to help the poor, go help them. If you want to feed the hungry, go feed them. If you want to complain about the work other people are doing while doing none yourself, shut up.

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Good Friday

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Explaining that his time had come in John 12:24, Jesus said that a grain of wheat could not bear fruit unless it first fell to the ground and died. The crucifixion may be the last stop in our Holy Week journey but for Jesus it was the next step in the process. He Cannot Save Himself is an old favorite of ours on Good Friday. Here are some other bits and pieces you might enjoy. Continue reading

Design Note

During certain times of the year I change the cover image of The Master’s Table Facebook page. I switch to the wise men following the star to Bethlehem during Advent and this image of three crosses for Holy Week. I don’t tinker with the banner here for a couple of reasons. One is I’m afraid of messing it up. I know, I know, but I still worry about never getting it to look exactly right again.

There is another reason. Di Vinci’s portrait of The Last Supper is where the idea for The Master’s Table as a title came from. There’s a whole explanation in the About section. That supper took place during Holy Week. It would be totally wrong to take it down this week of all weeks and replace it with something else. That picture is the goal for the Christian life. To eat and drink with the Master, sitting with other followers and listening to his teaching.

Good Shepherd; Lamb of God

jesus_shepherdIs Jesus the sheep or the shepherd?

Just about every animal has some unique feature that allows it to defend itself from predators. Some have incredible speed, such as deer, while others have sharp claws, powerful muscles or rows of gleaming teeth. Some animals camouflage themselves into the background while the purpose of some camouflage, like that of zebra, make it difficult to distinguish individuals from the group. Even the slow, ungraceful skunk has a very potent defense mechanism. Just about every animal has something, it seems, except sheep. It’s almost as if God intended them to be food for other animals. Sheep are very nearsighted and have to be led to food and water. They cannot drink fast moving water and can actually drown trying. They have to be led to food, led to shelter, and protected from every type of danger. The Bible uses sheep of all things to represent people. Continue reading

In Christ Alone

First published in 2001, In Christ Alone has become one of the favorite hymns of all time by several metrics. In Christ Alone is considered a credal hymn expressing faith in the crucified and risen savior.

The song has been recorded and covered many times. The first version below features Adrienne Liesching and Geoff Moore. (I was a big Geoff Moore and the Distance fan back in college but that’s not important right now.) This video displays the brilliant lyrics for your consideration. The second video is a live performance by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend are the original co-authors.

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UPDATE: It has come to my attention this my second post by this title. This post from 2009 is all about the lyrics with a link to the video. All four verses appear in their entirety with my commentary added afterward.