Jesus is with us, present, even when we cannot see

The Creation Window inside Butler Chapel.

After a wedding rehearsal some time ago, I noticed the grandmother of the bride standing close and looking intently at the Creation Window in front of Butler Chapel. Curiosity got the better of me so I asked about her interest in the window. She is an artist and she was admiring the craftsmanship of the window, specifically the cameing. Cames are metal strips that hold together the pieces of stained glass.

The Creation Window draws me in nearly every time I enter the chapel. It invites me to think more deeply about who God is and the window itself teaches me more about the story of God. I feel as though I know the window well. However, on that day, a delightful grandmother gave me eyes to see something I had not seen before—what holds the colors and images of this grand story together.

I don’t know how many individual pieces of glass there are in the Creation Window but I know there are many, and lately I have begun to wonder about the individual pieces. Piece by piece, each one tells its own story bearing witness to the work of God in its own way.

Each piece carries its own story of joy and grief, goodness and grace, and depending on the day holds darkness or light, both significant to its own story. Each piece of glass brings to life a part of who God is. In thinking about the pieces in this way, the window is us. It is a powerful representation of the community of faith. It is the story of God holding all of us together just as the cameing holds each piece in the window together.

The day of the wedding rehearsal, the grandmother touched the window. She ran her fingers along the cameing looking with intention and hope. She was searching for the evidence of what she knew of cameing to be true with the window in front of her. For her, it was a sacred moment of knowing. As I think about that moment on this Monday after Easter, I can’t help but think of Thomas on his seeing Jesus after the resurrection.

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:26-29)

Thomas needed to look with intention and hope to search for evidence of what he knew about Jesus to be true about the man standing in front of him. Thomas needed his own sacred moment of knowing.

Resurrection is what holds the Creation Window together in ways seen and unseen. The cameing is not something we see when we look at the window but it is what holds together the story of God. The cameing gives life to you and me, pieces of all kinds, carrying our own stories and our own wounds. These make us who we are. The cameing is God, through his son Jesus Christ, the one in whom all things consist and are held together. Jesus holds us together with his love, mercy, and grace. It is the promise Jesus is with us, present, even when we cannot see. As the writer of Hebrews puts it:  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Sometimes we need to touch the wounds of Jesus to know we are loved and forgiven. Sometimes we need to be reminded Jesus’ wounds did not disappear but he was resurrected, nonetheless. That is what Thomas needed and when was able to touch what held him and his fellow disciples together his response was one of faith, “my Lord and My God.” On this Easter Monday, I hope you are able to proclaim in ways you can, “My Lord and My God.” These are words of hope and faith. These words remind us that we are part of the story of God. And, that is good news.