A Beautiful Disaster


Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come….
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”

A Beautiful Disaster

The prophet Joel blows the trumpet announcing the day of the Lord. Jerusalem is called to humbly turn to God while there is still time to avoid impending disaster.
The center sanctuary window at Christ Church was created by artist Ken vonRoenn. It is huge, round and is comprised of four panels. The piece was scheduled to be installed on November 27, 2007, as the final touch before the grand opening of our new sanctuary. The first three panels were installed without incident. But later that evening, the unthinkable happened. While the installers were on top of the scaffolding, we had a brief electrical blackout. The panicked installers couldn’t see where to sit the glass and as it hit the scaffolding, the pane shattered. They hurriedly took the final panel down, loaded it up and speed back to Kentucky.
We opened with 75 percent of an art window. It was a disaster. One day we received a call from Ken who suggested that rather than create a new panel of glass, we shatter the other panels as well. I was suspicious at best, until I saw it. The shattered pane was…beautiful! It was infinitely more interesting and complex than it had been before and the artist made short work of shattering the other three panes of glass. The central feature of our 1,100 seat sanctuary is a beautiful disaster!
As you enter into this Lenten season, be open to how the power of God speaks to the disaster of the human condition and turn to God while there is still time.


Almighty God, as we enter this season with humble hearts,Make beautiful the disasters in each of our lives. In Jesus’ strong name! Amen.