Owatonna United Methodist Church
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Connecting Caring Learning Serving


 From Pastor Loren Olson

     Many of us witnessed the fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame via live television and internet.  People all over the world stopped to watch this tragic event because the cathedral is more than a church building.  Some call it a symbol of Western civilization.  Others think of it as a national symbol of France. Others admire the art and science of the structure. But for many, it is holy ground. For eight centuries people have gone there to experience God, whether as parishioners of the local parish, or pilgrims from far reaches who wanted to worship in this space where it was felt that the membrane between heaven and earth was thin.


     Our church building might not be a tourist attraction, example of fine architecture, or inspire awe as people enter.  But it is holy ground.  It has been the place of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and funerals, as well as other celebrations.  Many “red letter” days have happened within its walls.  It has been a place of prayer in deep moments. It has been a place where we worship with songs of praise.  We have heard God’s word preached, and discussed issues of faith and society.  Some of our best friendships began on this holy ground.


     Some of the Catholic leaders interviewed during the fire made the point that the cathedral meant much to the church, but it was just a building.  Several first gave thanks that there were relatively few injuries fighting the fire.  Human life is far more important than a building.  When it was pointed out that holy week services were disrupted, the answer from the faithful was that there were many other churches in the city where people can worship.  A fire was not going to disrupt the observance of the passion and the celebration of Easter. 


     Fortunately, although in need of a little on-going maintenance, our building stands strong.  It is a place to worship. It is a place open to the community. It is a place where we meet for fellowship, and from which we go forth to serve.  Give thanks for our church building and the generous gifts that help maintain it.  Give thanks that it is a place where the membrane between heaven and earth is thin. Give thanks that for us it is holy ground where we gather with the people who really are the church.


     See you in church….