The center sanctuary window at Christ Church was created by artist Ken von Roenn. 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 Christmas grand opening of our new 1,100 seat 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 in full Christmas regalia with 75% 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. Today the central feature of our sanctuary is an absolutely beautiful disaster! As we enter this Advent season, be open to how the gift of Christ speaks to the disaster of the human condition and turns our shattered lives into something beautiful!
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop, A Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church, is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois.