Notre Dame's Cross
"It's not about how much we lost, it's about how much we have left." – Steve Rogers, Avengers: End Game
Spoiler Alert: Sorry to disappoint you, but there is nothing in here that will spoil End Game if you are so inclined to go see it in the theater.
For a few days last week the news was all about the tragic fire at the cathedral at Notre Dame. The timing was truly amazing, that such a symbol of Christianity should burn during Holy Week, leaving the bright shining cross untouched. People from all over, not all of them Christians, but some just tourists who decry the loss of such beautiful architecture, speak of the fire as such a tragic loss. And for once, many news stories use the fire as a jumping off point not for tragedy, but for triumph. The cross – untouched.
Flashback two thousand years. It's Sunday morning and Peter is standing in the shadows hiding from his friends, his fellow Disciples. As he looks around the room he can see they are all dejected. Half of them have cried until they cannot cry any more, while the other half are still in shock. Jesus, this Messiah, this self-proclaimed Son of God, is dead, buried in a borrowed tomb, and everything they believed is blown away like dust on the silver screen. Peter looks at John and Matthew, whose faces are long and worn. He sees Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene who had been leaning on each other in the corner, too exhausted to cry, yet too anxious to sleep, until Mary Magdalene finally just stood up and walked out, to where, Peter didn't know. He looks around the room and sees the faces of those who had taken that leap of faith with him, everyone but Thomas and Judas, that is.
I can picture the scene as clearly as if I was in the room that day. What might Peter or John say? On what might they draw to find the strength to take the next breath or the next step? Better yet, on whom?
Then, Peter steps forward out of the shadow. Is his faith in the man lying in the tomb, or in the words and lessons the man gave? He takes a deep breath, clears his throat to get everyone's attention, and raises his hands, palms up. "It's not about how much we lost, it's about how much we have left."
Then the knock. Then Mary and her fantastic story. Then Jesus!
This time of year, Christians all over the world celebrate the resurrection of the Son of God. We talk about the cross and the symbolism it holds. But it's not the cross that holds the power. No. It's the man who overcame the cross. The Son of Man who descended into Hell and took back the keys to death and the grave. The Son of God who ascended and now sits at the right hand of the one true God. No, it's not the cross, but what the cross points to – or more correctly, who.
It's fitting that one of the most anticipated movies of our generation will be released right after Easter and the promo for that film is centered on that concept. It's not what we lost – it's who we have left. Like the fire at Notre Dame, the world thought Jesus was destroyed. Satan laughed, but only for a short minute. Imagine his anger when Jesus came strolling through Hell – Satan's domain – and Satan found himself powerless against the authority of The Almighty. And when he arose, and rolled away the stone. And when he finally ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father!
So, Christian, if you are so inclined, when you go online to pre-purchase tickets to End Game this weekend, why not also pencil in a trip to your local church for Easter Sunday? Say a prayer for those rebuilding Notre Dame and for those rebuilding their lives wherever they may be. And remember, it's not about what we've lost – it's all about who we have left.
–Mark Klages is an influential contributor, a former US Marine and a lifelong teacher who focuses on applying a Christian worldview to everyday events. Mark blogs at https://maklagesl3.wixsite.com/website under the title "God Provides where Hate Divides," with a heart to heal social, political, relational, and intellectual wounds through God's divine love and grace. Mark can also be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-klages-04b42511/.