I wrote this for one of our youth ministry gatherings.
If you can have someone else lead you through this, stop now and do that.
Otherwise, take your time through this exercise and don’t read ahead.
Our spiritual and mental abilities are gifts from God. This includes our memory, intellect, and emotions, just to name a few of them. During this exercise, we will utilize the gift of our imagination.
Take some time to quiet yourself, making room for the Spirit.
If distractions arise, ask the Lord to hold on to it for you so you can let it go.
Focus on your breathing or your heartbeat to help you do that. Something automatic and repetitive.
If you are reading this to yourself, close your eyes during the pauses to keep your focus.
Imagine your are standing on the cobblestones of a courtyeard outside a big European style cathedral on a warm sunny day. The cathedral is tall, made of stained glass and stone. In front of you are two massive double doors.
You walk toward the doors. As you do, a man with dark, tanned skin approaches you. He introduces himself as Paul. “Follow me, I want to show you something.”
As you get close to the doors he stops, looks up and says, “This building gives me such hope. Long ago, God was seen as so distant, but through Christ we have churches like this everywhere as a reminder of just how close God has come to us.” Turning toward you, “So close, even, that people laid hands upon Him and killed Him. It truly is remarkable. Anyway, what I want to show you is inside.”
He pushes the massive door open with great ease. The church is huge and open.
Multi-colored lights stream through the windows, a baptismal font serenely trickles, you hear quiet chanting from up near the tabernacle.
“I love walking in here. Can you feel it? Can you hear it? It is peaceful. This peace points to Christ.
He is our peace.
He brings peace to creation and humanity.
He has carved out a space where we can all gather. Where everything that we are can encounter all that is good, beautiful, and true.”
He leads you further into the cathedral, under the tall vaulted ceilings and warmed by the lights from the stained glass windows.
He directs your attention to the stained glass windows. They are the tallest you’ve ever seen.
“Look, do you see that window?
Glassblowers made rock, sand, and broken glass into these good and beautiful works of art that proclaim the truth of God’s love for us. So to God blows His breath into us. He holds every one of us in hands, each of us a colored piece of glass, with our own brokenness. Yet, he bring us together in a good way, to make a beautiful work of art, proclaiming His truth.
Each shard belongs.
Each piece essential to completing the image.
All the glass, whether it is a blade of grass, Jesus’ toe, filler in the sky, or Christ’s heart is illuminated by one and the same sun. So to, we are all made radiant by the same Spirit.
No longer are we discarded shards, but we properly belong to the whole.
Beautiful in our own right as we capture the rays of the sun, purposeful as we are built into the walls of the Church, and so good as we tell the story of Christ with our lives.
I once reminded the Christians of Ephesus, that: ‘You are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord.’
This window reminds us of that.
Like us, it only finds its true purpose when it is for Christ. Christ is working in us, to make us a church of people not of walls. Wherever you go, He wants you to bring the Spirit of God with you. Like a piece of glass that can bring the rays of the sun with it.
You belong here.
You are meant to stand alongside disciples like Francis, Mary Magdalene, Maximillian, Theresa, Oscar, Thomas, even Peter and me.
You are a piece of colored glass.
Will you allow the Father to bring you into His image?
Will you let the Son wash you clean and hold you in place?
Will you let the Spirit fill you and shine through you?
Will you be like a piece of glass in this window?” He says as he slowly backs away leaving you looking at your window.
What did your stained glass window look like?
I invite you to talk to someone or journal about what it looked it like. As well as:
- Does that have a connection to your relationship with Christ?
- How does that image speak to you?
- Are there ways that you resist being part of that image?
- What do you find encouraging about this metaphor?
- In what ways do you struggle with it?
Feel free to offer comments below and share this or use it if you found it helpful.