In April 2019 we watched, with all of Paris, in disbelief as Notre Dame Cathedral suffered such destruction. This towering miracle of beauty and majesty was suddenly engulfed by fire. What once was, might never be again! Prayers were offered all over the world as the roof slowly gave way. Could faith itself hold up? In this the second of three posts using T.S. Eliot’s Choruses from The Rock we hear in the excerpt below Eliot ask questions as to how to not only build churches but how to repair and build a bridge betwen faith and life, between humanity and God the Creator. Ponder the following; How might you describe the present situation within society in relation to belief in a Creator God? Is the church its own worst enemy? What needs to be built?
Choruses from The Rock T. S. Eliot
The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all of my years, one thing does not change.
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.
Forgetful, you neglect your shrines and churches;
The men you are in these times deride
What has been done of good, you find explanations
To satisfy the rational and enlightened mind.
Second, you neglect and belittle the desert.
The desert is not remote in southern tropics,
The desert is not only around the corner,
The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you,
The desert is in the heart of your brother.
The good man is the builder, if he build what is good.
I will show you the things that are now being done,
And some of the things that were long ago done,
That you may take heart. Make perfect your will.
Let me show you the work of the humble. Listen.
The lights fade; in the semi-darkness the voices of WORKMEN are heard chanting .
In the vacant places
We will build with new bricks
There are hands and machines
And clay for new brick
And lime for new mortar
Where the bricks are fallen
We will build with new stone
Where the beams are rotten
We will build with new timbers
Where the word is unspoken
We will build with new speech
There is work together
A Church for all
And a job for each
Every man to his work.
As I look all around me
there is so much that is broken and in disrepair.
Our trust in one another is shattered,
our hope is shaky and uncertain, and
our faith is fractured.
Come O Lord
dwell in our midst and restore
and bind up our broken spirit.
Might we build not only with bricks
but with love and grace.
Might we build with hope and hospitality and
so create a sacred space in which all find a safe place. Amen.