My wife, Vicky, and I just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris, France where we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. The first night we were there, we walked from our hotel down to the Seine River and then west along the river until we arrived at one of the world’s most famous churches, Notre Dame de Paris.
It’s almost impossible to portray the grandeur of the building. It’s not just that the structure is massive. But every piece of it, every nook and cranny, is a masterful work of art. From the famous flying buttresses, to the gargoyles to the stained glass rose windows, the cathedral is more magnificent than any photograph can convey.
We walked through the cathedral on that Saturday evening along with several hundred others. A church service was going on even as we walked through. We stopped briefly to listen to the sweet cadences of the liturgy in French. It was beautiful even though we couldn’t understand the words.
I was moved to pray and just feel the Spirit of God moving through. The most artistically-gifted humans had built and adorned this place with their work. And they had done so to honor God with the best work possible.
As we moved back out into the sunshine amidst the crowd of people walking through taking photographs and marveling at this immense structure, it suddenly occurred to me. Over 13 million people visit Notre Dame each year. On average, over 30,000 visitors each day come to marvel at what these talented humans did. But so many of them are ignoring the real purpose for which this beautiful building was built. They look up into the massive ceiling with its ornate architecture but do they see beyond the human art to the Creator for whom it was made?
The world displays the glory of God. God has given gifts to humans so that we might glorify Him. Whether you are looking at a majestic cathedral or a perfect red rose, don’t miss the real Beauty that stands behind all of the beauty we see.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC