Friday, September 20, 2013

Don't Keep me Walking... Walking on Broken Glass

"So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don't keep me walking...
Walking on broken glass"
Annie Lennox

Have you ever walked into a great cathedral? More often than not the space is alive with sounds, even though people are trying to be quiet, the slightest movement makes a racket. You are on sensory overload with those sounds and then all the smells and the SIGHTS. The sights are amazing. Massive ceilings generally cloaked in all kinds of crazy architecture and materials. All shapes, textures, sizes and colors.

Often the center piece to these ancient wonders are their windows. The windows are telling stories about what the builder believed. Great planning, time and painstaking work went into these visual aids and a picture can't fully tell the story unless it is with your own eyes standing under these great masterpieces; I have added a couple so you are reminded of what I am talking about.

A marble sculpture is generally 1 large piece of stone carved to resemble something or someone. A painting is done with various colored paint but all on one canvas. But stained glass...

The amount of light that these let in tells part of the story. The shape tells another part. The size and figures tell another part and it's all done with what? Broken glass. 

Some of the most amazing architecture in the world is overlooked because the viewers are looking at windows made of broken glass.

JR Miller said, "In a great cathedral there is said to be a window made by an apprentice out of the bits of stained glass which were thrown away as refuse and worthless, when the other windows were made--and this is the most beautiful window of all." 

These days, and probably in the days of these great glass paintings, people seem to be feeling like their lives are falling apart, that there is little reason to go on with the country in such a mess, finances falling, family issues and the list goes on. Life is hard. The lives represented in these windows both from the artist's standpoint as well as the characters depicted were often lives that were a tremendous struggle. But these were not quitters.

Just like the window that Mr Miller was talking about, it does seem strange how many of earth's most beautiful lives have grown up out of seeming defeat and failure. God seems to love to build spiritual loveliness, loveliness that steals the show away from other forms of beauty and grandiose style, out of the castaway fragments of lives, even out of sin's debris. A life that seemed to be worthless turned into the most amazing testimony of God's grace and kindness, when others thought it was worthless. 

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 
What an encouragement this is. God can take our messed up lives and turn them into something beautiful. God can take the wrongs others have done, whether by intention or not, and build something lasting and beautiful from those pieces.

"No others by their worst work of hurt or marring, can prevent your building a beautiful character for yourself." JR MIller 

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds!" Psalm 147:3

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