On the Monday of Holy Week, in one of the most secular countries on globe, in the midst of a fire hungrily devouring the planet’s most famous gothic church — a chain of humanity forms, to pass from one hand to another hand, what is believed to be a nail that held Christ to Golgotha’s Cross, the piercing thorns that pressed His brow, and a piece of the Cross itself.
Regardless of the veracity of the relics, this is what matters: that people think that any of this still matters.
There is a Story that survives fire.
There is a narrative that is formative and it forms the essence of us and it will raise from flames.
There is Truth we are tethered to and it’s an anchor for the ages that steadies civilizations.
We all globally witnessed it at the beginning of Holy Week: A post-modern culture may think it’s grown beyond the Story, but it’s the Story that stays in us and grows us beyond ourselves:
And a secular city’s streets, it fill with hipsters and millennials and mamas and weary old men and all these bystanders who couldn’t just blithely stand by, and all their grieving strains of Ave Maria — Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace. Le Seigneur est avec vous. Vous etes benie entre toutes les femmes, et Jesus, le fruit de vos entrailles, est beni — rise like incensed prayers, mingling with plumes of smoke.
A secular world still seeks the sacred.
Maybe we aren’t collectively lamenting the loss of a sacred space — as much as we are lamenting the loss of a sacred way of being.
Maybe we all want to admit more of God into our lives — more than we all care to admit?
Maybe Notre Dame’s a burning bush in the wilderness of our collective Lent?
All this world is crammed with Christ
and Notre Dame’s our burning bush afire,
awakening us to His Presence and our pining —
and the woken take their flexing sneakers off feet
to kneel down and wash feet —
instead of pontificating and picking each other apart.
That is the question: Which part of us? The deadened part of us that is blasé and non-committal to the call of God, the ways of God, the Living Word of God? Is this a burning off of our dross?
Or is it the marrow of our bones on fire, our veins burning with passion for the Christ, our lips ablaze with praise, our tongues on fire to tell the Good News, our arteries firing with the hope of glory, a passion for staying in the Story?
Or — is the edifice that’s burning down on our screens actually Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it?
Is the inferno of Notre Dame a metaphor of our post-modern era — and what does our collective grieving reveal about what we’re really missing — Who we are really missing?
One can grieve and wonder if it’s true:
We may want the scent of Christ in our streets — without any surrender to Christ in our souls.
So now is the time we gather the kids round, circle around the table, and light candles and open that which ignites and kindles the dry bone and places, because this is the week to Stay in the Story, the time to give the Story, the time to share the Story.
Because as the world, hand in hand, grieves over a loss of sacred space, one wonders if we are all really lamenting leaving Him as our soul’s refuge, and we simply long to live in the Story, live out the Story, and come Home.
I read the Story straight through this week to the littlest, and am nearing the end of my own spending Lent reading right through all of the New Testament. My brother tells he too gathered his 4 littles under 4 and read every page of Tiny Truths to his tinies because what ultimately matters? Is that the Truth of this Story now matters more than ever.
The blaze-shocked world may have heard Macron say Notre Dame is “the epicentre of our lives,” and France may see the Dame’s steeples are a symbol of who they are, stands as the crux of their identity, but there is an epicentre of Word that is central to Believers, there is an unchanging identity found in holy writ, in “the true story of who you are and what you were made for.
The most important part of this Story is very simple:
Who God is — the One who made everything and everyone.
Who we are— His children, who He loves no matter what.
What we were made for — to love Him and everyone else.” (From the Introduction of Tiny Truths)
In a world that can burn down around us, in the epidemic of our age, this search for identity, we have to Stay in the Story to stay rooted enough to stay standing.
And it is nothing less than a Holy Week miracle of global proportions: On the brink of Resurrection Sunday and the unfolding of the Story that raises all the razed things from the ashes to life again, Humanity has all turned toward a place of worship — and is determined to rebuild sacred space.
Exactly because we are wired to worship and to stay in the Story.
In the ashes that begin Holy Week, I am fiercely intentional and stack the Word around us like stones, open its pages like doors, find refuge in its structurally sound lines, rest in its interior.
We all know it in our bones: What we all need now, standing in the charred remains of Western civilization, is to stay in the Story, steep in the Story, soak in the Story, choose a saturation of Story — in the smouldering aftermath of the scorching flames.
Because there is a Cathedral for Christendom that will outlast the ages — and it is the sacred Truth of the Text, the nave found in Holy Narrative, the feasting altar of the Living Word, the safe arches of the Story.
We stand at the beginning of Holy Week with the stark realization:
These times need us: We cannot afford to be careless keepers of incomparable things.
These times need us: Who will be steadfast stewards of the Story if not us?
These times need us: There must be those who rebuild on the Rock and the Cornerstone — and we will only rise if we lay our foundation down in the Word.
We rebuild with more than concrete — we rebuild with concrete Truths.
We restore by more than sharing our resources —
we restore by sharing the Story.
We rise with more than inspirational words —
we rise by incarnating the Word.
In the face of the conflagration engulfing Western Civilization, there will only be restoration, if there is a people who will pass on the torch of the only Story that can shelter the generations so there is a hope of regeneration and cosmic salvation.
On the evening of the Monday of Holy Week, there are images broadcast around the world of the wicks of tiny prayer candles flickering fearlessly in the dark, while high above in the nave, the spire of Notre Dame goes up in a roar of flames.
And when I turn to open up the true Story, there’s igniting light on every page, a brave fire that burns in the Story and those who stay in the Story, to restore and rise, defying the dark or the ashes.
Because this is the week to Stay in the Story, the time to give the Story, the time to share the Story.
And what better way to help to hide big truths in little hearts than these free printable finger puppets! They are designed to coordinate with multiple stories from your Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible, giving you a meaningful way to act out and retell the stories over and over again with your little ones. Please click here for this free printable.
With whimsical illustrations and engaging storytelling, The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible presents all your favorite stories and diversely represented characters from the Old and New Testaments.
Uniquely presented in a way that connects each individual story to the next, this book introduces children to the most important ideas and characters of the Bible while also making clear how everything fits together to tell one big story––the story of God’s love for his children.
Perfect for this Easter season: Kids will want to return to these joyful, memorable stories again and again, building their understanding of God’s Word. And the practical lessons, reminders, and truths found throughout the stories make this an invaluable resource.
Who will be steadfast stewards of the Story if not us?
There must be those who rebuild on the Rock and the Cornerstone and we will only rise — if we lay our foundation down in the Word.
Introduce your children to the incredible story of God’s enormous love for them with The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible and be the people who Stay in the Story.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]