However, amid the rubble, crews discovered that one particular painting somehow miraculously survived the conflagration. It was a painting depicting Jesus Christ, standing in a white robe with His hands, bearing the marks of crucifixion, open and extended.
The painting, which had hung just inside the church’s front doors, is said to have survived virtually unscathed with only a few drops of water on it.
One church member Maria Kakolowski, put it this way: “It’s a beautiful sign of hope and a reminder that Jesus is with us. I am personally just taking it as a sign and a reminder that the Jesus, the Christ that we serve is still alive and even though our church building is gone, our church is here. The God that we serve is still here.”
As crews began dismantling the remnants of the historic building, the church family expressed their gratitude that no parishioners were hurt. They also thanked the fire department for bravely battling the seven-alarm blaze. In a statement, they said: “We know that we serve a God who specializes in restoring brokenness and who can bring beauty even from ashes,” they wrote. “So we move into the future with trust, hope, and gratitude.”
And they can say this with confidence, as the building, which was originally built in 1872, has already been rebuilt once back in 1912 after an earlier fire!
As I read this article, I could not help but think about the famed “Charred Cross of Coventry”.
One of the most bombed cities of England during World War II was Coventry, England. The Nazis thought that they could break the spirit of the people if they bombed churches as well as factories. This they did with vengeance.
After the fire burned out at the cathedral in Coventry, the people attempted to clean up the place. While doing so, they uncovered charred timbers in the shape of the familiar Latin cross. They set it up in front of what was left of the sanctuary and held their Sunday worship services in that setting until they could rebuild.
In both of these stories, we are reminded that the person and work of Jesus Christ cannot be overthrown. No force of nature and no action of mankind can ever extinguish the message of the Gospel! The cause of Christ will inevitably prevail.
And for this reason, those of us who have placed our faith and trust in Him can have confidence no matter what we face. As the Apostle John puts it in his first New Testament Epistle (chapter 5, verses 4 and 5): “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
In the Old Testament Book of Daniel (chapter 3), three Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were given the choice between bowing down and worshipping a false image set up by King Nebuchadnezzar or else being thrown into a fiery furnace. They refused and he made good on this threat.
But when Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire, he saw a fourth individual with them – one like the Son of God! What is more, he called for the flames to cease, and discovered that the three Hebrew men were unharmed by the flames!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are proof that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, cannot be consumed by any force in Heaven or on earth. And He Who withstood the flames with and for them is able to see us through anything we might encounter as well, no matter how much heat we might face!
NEWS ARTICLE SOURCE:
News story based on a report by Lucia I. Suarez Sang found at: https://www.foxnews.com/us/painting-of-jesus-miraculously-survives-inferno-at-historic-massachusetts-church.
The charred cross illustration is available widely online. See, for instance, https://www.store.sermonsuite.com/sermonstudio/charred-cross-coventry. See also: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/40972700/the_charred_cross as well as: wpc.org/uploads/sermons/doc/August26Jones2012.doc.