“Sometimes what seems the most fragile catches the most light.” ~Joseph Bruchac
One of my recent visits to St. John’s Episcopal was by accident. I saw Young William turning in and followed. He was going to practice the organ for the next day’s service. When faced with the opportunity to enter such a mysterious, historical, and holy place, I do not suffer from shyness. I entered and while he played, I walked and read and looked at wood and windows nearly 150 years old. I thought about the careworn faces and the voices who organized the Church immediately following the Civil War, the period of reconstruction. I thought about the tears of those who first sat on these benches as they grieved and were hugged by God’s presence.
The South had been ravaged, as war does, and homes, farms, and families displaced and others destroyed. And on the heels of this catastrophic event, one of the first things they do here in my town is build a church. The need for worship and drawing close to God demanded a place for believers to gather and so their priority was established. Their sense of community was under restoration as were their souls. How fragile their spirits must have felt.
The windows of St. John’s are vibrant in red, blue, and gold, and each one with a message from scripture and a dedication for those who secured an altar, and in so doing helped rebuild and secure community. I imagine they thought often of the Gospel story, and God’s rescue plan and the shoulders of neighbors brought them comfort in the days after the war. The windows, each vibrant in color and fragile as glass can be, channel light into a room of darkest wood and bring a reminder that no matter what happens, no matter how much time is required, restoration of even the weakest, the most fragile is highly possible in God.
God, who makes light shine in hearts that are fragile from life’s days, is the One who causes His power to be visible in the weakest of us. I’ve known many in my life who were cast aside or not considered as valuable or useful in the Community of Believers, who became giants of faith while wearing new garments of humility. They were the ones who out of need drew near to the Father, and became wise and gifted and were able to counsel others and bring change in and around them.
God uses the weak to confound the wise, the fragile to counsel the strong, the nobody to encourage the highly positioned. We are all as glass, as clay pots that hold God inside. It lets His beauty be seen, and the light that shines through the windows of St. John’s reminds me of His glory pouring forth.
These windows are the greatest blessing when it is darkest for they are a visible reminder of the healing of worship going on inside.
6For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4)
If you are one of the fragile or the broken, throw the weight of your cares upon the arms of the One. His plan will prove out for He has promised. Let the beauty of your fragile places, even shards of glass, shine through and give glory to the Father who surrounds you and lives in you, Immanuel – God with us. Be who you are designed to be, a beautiful window of unique design, colors, gifts, and trust Him to bring the Fathering restoration needed in the weak places. His power will shine through as a testimony to who He is – the Father who never abandons His own.
To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(c) Robin Lawrimore, November 2011