I love to share stories that are part of the folklore of different parishes that I have had the privilege of serving. And of all the stories that I have heard and shared, one of my favorites concern an event that happened in early September, 1965, when St. Paul’s in New Orleans endured Hurricane Betsy. During that disastrous storm the large Ascension Widow over the front altar was blown out and laid scattered and broken all over the front lawn of the church. In recollecting the details of the event, Ted Dawson, who was the rector at the time, remembers that many people from around the neighborhood came together to pick up the broken pieces of glass, hoping that the stained glass window could be restored. Ted also remembered two distinctive pieces of glass that remained unbroken even though the storm had thrown them into the mud—one was the face of Jesus which is painted on one piece of glass, the other was Jesus’ right hand.
I believe there is a message that lies amid all that broken glass that is so symbolic and representative of our lives, and there is also an important picture for us in the two pieces of unbroken glass that is so representative of our Lord. Amidst all of our brokenness, God’s hand of power is still intact as he extends his sovereign grace and mercy to us. And even though the storms and clouds may seem to hide his face in the mud and mire of our lives, He is still there ever ready to shine on us with the warmth and sunshine of God’s unbroken love.
During the month of May and early June we will celebrate the Feast of the Ascension and the Feast of Pentecost. These two major Feast Days remind us that Christ has not only risen, but that he also reigns. He reigns over the storms in our lives and he reigns in the hearts of those who have yielded to his grace and will.
Storms and disasters still batter the church, but God’s will and purpose for us will still be fulfilled. He is willing and able to take the broken pieces of our lives and use them to build his church and empower us to be a blessing to his people. And by the way, with the pieces of broken glass collected on that day, the stain glass window was restored. That, too, was just another reminder that “…the gates of hell (whether they come in the form of storms or adverse circumstances) will not prevail against us” (Matthew 16:18).
Grace and peace to you, for the Lord is with you.
Yours in Christ,