Glass is a miraculous substance: a liquid turns to a solid but in its solid state can be as transparent as the clearest water. Made of silica, the primary component of sand, glass is manipulated in its viscous molten stage—it may become a window, a graceful bowl, a piece of art.
Glass, highly fragile, and beautiful, might be seen as a symbol for the fragility and beauty of human nature. When our fragility rests with God, though, it rests in God’s nature, and reflects strength, not weakness. We are fragile beings, but we’re not alone in our fragility.
If we toughen ourselves and cannot admit our fragility, our beauty may be hidden from others, for fragility is intertwined with human beauty. Allowing ourselves to be fragile, too, can open us more fully to God; when we admit to our powerlessness, we invite God’s healing, saving power.
The Gospels are full of stories of our fragility: Jesus shepherds the wandering and weak sheep, he takes pity on the suffering and on the sinner. The strong, the wealthy, the winners among us are not motivators for his compassionate action. The truth is, we are all fragile, we only imagine sometimes that we are not. Ironically, it takes strength to admit it.
“When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’” (Mark 2:17)
“Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
“When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’” (Matthew 9:11-13)
“Your fragility is also your strength.”
– Pina Bausch, German dancer
The ephemeral beauty of a delicate flower, of a tiny bird, of a humble man or woman imbued with God’s peace inspire wonder and admiration. A stained glass window gracing a church is beautiful in part because of its fragile nature.
Creator Mundi’s new glass pieces bring together beauty and fragility, reminding us of our reliance on God.