A sad conflagration, now Paris is grieving,
the fire crews have struggled to dowse and control,
so much has been ruined, yet memory still rises,
God’s grace will enliven rebuilding its soul.
For hundreds of years generations have worshipped,
the river has flowed near where people have prayed.
Now voices are silent, the hearts of the people
are rending at loss where the flames leapt and played.
So now we stand silent as God’s congregation.
Where once saints had sung timbers smoulder and crash.
Your Church, God, is human, but buildings have purpose,
may witness and faith rise again from this ash.
This is the time of waiting,
the calm before the storm,
the time of Advent judgement,
the coming of the dawn;
a time of recollection,
of Christ’s audacious hope,
outside our human scope.
The nations will be gathered,
the age will be fulfilled,
the judgement be enacted,
as Christ had hoped and willed.
But for this consummation
such birth-pangs will be felt,
like rupturing of wine-skins,
the earth will heave and melt.
For love to be exalted,
for hatred to be banned,
our human goals must shatter,
division must be spanned.
A change of mind is needed
as we are turned around,
to move from desecration,
to find love’s solid ground.