Dear President Macron,
I would like to start by saying thank you for all you are doing to combat climate change. You are leading the world in efforts bigger than one state alone, and I appreciate you and the French people for taking the imminent threat seriously.
I would also like to offer my sincerest condolences on the terrible fire that engulfed your precious historical artifact—Notre Dame.
In the days to come, those who believe in Jesus Christ and the Christian church will be gathering to remember and honor the man for whom Christianity was built. But in this trying time, we must remember Jesus as he was—not as we would like him to be.
Jesus Christ was a Jewish man who gave up everything, most importantly his life, for the purpose of “loving thy neighbor.” He died for sins not yet committed and was devoted to breaking the chains that bound humanity to greed and passivity. Because of his rebellious acts of love and kindness, he left a mark on humanity forever. I wish this same story for you and France.
As you are aware, this week’s fire comes at a highly symbolic time in human history. Not only did this happen during Holy Week, but it also comes at a time when the most vulnerable people in the world face imminent threat of death and destruction. You, kind sir, are not likely to feel the effects of climate change but rather only watch from the comfort of your privileged life in public office.
“Life is not measured by how much you own.” ~ Luke 20:15
So, I write this letter on behalf of those who do not have a voice or the means to write you an open letter. I write this letter for the billions of men, women, and children who are suffering in hunger and poverty and face imminent environmental degradation. I write this letter to beg you: please, leave Notre Dame as it is now, and use the funds donated in the name of history, in the name of the future instead.
I do not need to tell you what is happening in the world. You are clear on the looming and growing crisis humanity faces. What I feel compelled to tell you is what Jesus would do if he were you.
The day Notre Dame caught fire was the day of Holy Week when Jesus tipped over the tables of the tax collectors. He was in a rage. He was more than angry—he was justified. People were starving, people were dying; it is the same story of our time, only magnified.
Jesus was for those people and not for the establishment. Jesus had no church, nor did he call for one. He preached on the streets and within synagogues. Jesus was a missionary for the needy. As it stands now, you and the state of France have 140,000 homeless people, 30,000 of which are children. How can you, in your spiritual mind and soul, justify spending one billion euros on a building that does not house your most vulnerable citizens?
I do not ask you. Jesus asks you.
Jesus, if he were alive today, would denounce the money donated by France’s most wealthy, and he would tip over their tables in disgust. How is their money so readily available for an artifact that, in the scheme of human dignity, means nothing if it does not practice what Jesus taught? If you cannot house your homeless within its walls, the building is useless. How many homeless and vulnerable lived within the walls of Notre Dame? How many people did she feed daily?
Additionally, Jesus would ask you and your donors, how do you justify spending one billion euros on a building when there are starving children within your city walls? How can you justify spending money on anything but the human dignity of those most affected by climate change, while most of these people will never live to see the inside of Notre Dame?
Again, and with all due respect, you and your billionaire donors will not be affected by climate change, hunger, or poverty. How do you defend not putting food on tables of the impoverished or not saving large land masses from environmental degradation for a building that closes its doors at 7 p.m.?
“Today, salvation has come to this house…For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” ~ Luke 19:9
I expect you and your donors to reject this idea at first; you might find yourselves wanting to embellish additional reasons as to France’s historical relevance in human history. Perhaps you will go so far as to say that Notre Dame is a place where spiritual growth and revelation happens. To this Jesus would say, send your people to another church or, better yet, encourage them to take up prayer in another building that does not house their personal faith, but rather the faiths of those whom they do not understand. This is truly where spiritual growth and revelation happens.
Clearly, Jesus was a man who did not see wealth or power of state as something to be proud of, but rather a responsibility to care for others who have not. Jesus denounced wealth and greed, while he embraced humility, sharing, and grace—something that seems to be lacking in your call for the rebuilding of Notre Dame. Ironically, through the call to rebuild Notre Dame before helping the world’s most vulnerable humans, France is following in the very footsteps Jesus abhorred—one of opulence and materialism. Quite frankly this will not do if we seek to be like Jesus.
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” ~ John 14:20
Please, President Macron, for the love of France and all of humanity, take one step toward Jesus and encourage your donors to put their money into building infrastructure, homes, safe water, and health care for the developing world. Invest the millions of euros donated into homes for your homeless, building a sustainable and transformative system the rest of the world can follow. Please, sir, lead by example and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Symbolically, Jesus was present the day Notre Dame burned, and he is present now. Save the resurrection of Notre Dame for the day when its resurrection represents the resurrection of humanity and not the materialism and self-importance of the architecture of France.
For the benefit of humanity and in Jesus Christ’s name, I beg you.