A Revelation in Paris

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

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Is Someone Mad at You?

Who are you mad at today? Are you nursing a grudge or holding on to some frustration that you are unwilling to let go of? Everyone is familiar with the fact that God wants us to forgive those who wrong us. Do you know that Jesus taught that we should make the first move to reconcile when someone has a grudge against us?

In the Sermon on the Mount that is recorded in Matthew, Jesus says, “if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” Matthew 5:23-24.

So, who is mad at you? Are you willing to reach out and try to reconcile with them?

The implication of this scripture is that we should not be offering anything to God if we have an ongoing conflict with a person. We should set aside our own religious activity if there is a possibility that we can reconcile. Don’t even offer God a sacrifice if you do are not reconciled with others.

We cannot force any person to forgive us, but we don’t give them the chance if we ignore the problem.

“For whoever does not love their brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).

So who is mad at you today? Can you go to them and try to reconcile? It is not completely up to you. They have to want to reconcile also. But we have been called by Jesus to a higher standard. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When we take the initiative to reconcile, we are truly following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC