My Fair Lady

Written by Anthony Douglas on 18 April 2019.

Notre DameI was struck this week by a strange coincidence: as the spire of Notre Dame (“our lady” in French) fell, the lyrics for ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ popped into my mind, with the way the refrain finishes ‘my fair lady’. Two symbols of the cities they are found in, and both loved by their citizens. The grief of London Bridge falling centuries ago has been seen again in the tears of Paris this week.

We love our landmarks, and rightly so. They capture the essence of home in a special way, and the honour we give in recognising their status is a way of paying tribute to the place God has given us to live and love in.

Yet this is nothing in comparison to how the people of Jerusalem felt about their Temple in the first century. It was a wonder, an extraordinary building that had seen no expense spared. Tourists from Rome - from Rome at its peak, even - would say that it was the most beautiful thing they’d ever seen.

And then Jesus foretold its destruction. Even the suggestion was seen as blasphemy, and it was for this that he was charged and convicted on that first Good Friday. Nobody should be allowed to speak against the place where it was possible to meet with God, they believed.

Notre Dame will be rebuilt, given enough years and at enormous expense. Jesus claimed he would rebuild the Temple in three days. And so it proved; on the third day he rose to life again, the true Temple, and once more, it was possible to meet with God by coming to his Son. And, praise God, he will never fall again!

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