The Churches of Paris
I didn’t really plan it this way, but we visited three churches yesterday in Paris.
Notre Dame was stunning, and so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Amazing history and then I stumbled on a statue of one of my favs, Jeanne d’Arc in the church. She has always fascinated me. My daughters and I did the audio tour around the cathedral.
I read In a guide book that that only a short walk away, at the church St Chappelle, are housed the relics reported to be Jesus’ original crown of thorns, a fragment of the original cross and an original nail. So we had to go. My eleven year old daughter Arie was very interested, but her eight year old sister Sophia I had to ply with French sweets and the promise of shopping afterwards.
After a walk and while standing in another long line for St. Chappelle, we learned that these relics were actually BACK at Notre Dame and only on display once a month on The first Friday of the month. We went into St Chappell anyway and it was breathtaking with massive stained glass windows.
Then on to promised shopping in second-hand stores for the girls. That took us to Montmartre, where while walking around looking for said shops, (me almost hit by a bus while taking pics of the girls) we later stumbled on the cafe that was in the movie Amelie, which Jason and I loved and watched multiple times, and then the massive staircase for Sacre Coure church. So we had to go!
Sophia was near melted by then and thank God she found a man selling purses near the steps of the church. She bought one and was reenergized by fashion.
After climbing around 200 steps to the top of the hill, we went into the church and Sophia asked to go straight to the front pews, as close as possible to the alter, and pray.
That surprised me a little coming from Sophia as she had met her church quota for the day. So we did. And while gazing at the massive mosaic overhead, my girls whispered questions in my ear and we all sat, me answering their questions and us praying off and on for about 90 minutes. It felt like only a few moments, and we were stunned when we checked the time.
This was our last full day in France, and after seeing many palaces in London and Paris, learning about this king and that queen, some good, many shackled and drunk with power, my thoughts turned to my King of all Kings, Jesus. As an American, I don’t really absorb the breadth of kingship, but walking through these massive palaces has given me a taste.
On this day, I thought about Jesus as King in my heart, one who sacrificed Himself for me, one who (though people mess this up all the time in a broken world) guides through love. He could be a demanding King, a selfish, intimidating, self-serving King, or even a disconnected king.
But instead I’ve experienced a loving King, an understanding King, a self-sacrificing, Servant King. A King who only wants our best and helps us become who we were meant to be, our best selves.
As I walk around Paris, in the city that my late husband, Jason, and I always wanted to visit, in April, exactly nine years from when our hearts were so crushed by his untimely passing, now feeling whole and at peace, I am so thankful that Jesus is King in my heart. I am so thankful that God chooses to make His dwelling in us, whose living decor is love, joy and unity, more beautiful than any building. It’s up to us to participate in building that, through, it’s not easy work and it can take a lifetime. But it’s beautiful and breathtaking when it comes together.
I could feel my soul fill like sails catching the wind. It just happened, not really planned at all. And those, those are the best days.