In December, 1915, the Norwegian freighter Kwango was on a voyage to deliver its cargo—wood—to Buenos Aires. The ship never made it to its destination. She was wrecked off Brion Island, in St. Lawrence Bay, on December 12th. The locals salvaged what they could of the cargo and with it, they built a church, St. Peters-By-The-Sea.
That church building still stands today, though it has since fallen out of use as a place of worship. Instead, there’s a movement to restore the building and transform it into a museum which would honor all who’ve lost their lives at sea near the Magdalen Islands. Despite the change in use, there’s something fitting about the circumstances of how this church building came to be, isn’t there?
A church built from a shipwreck.
There’s a sense in which every church is built like this one. From material salvaged from wreckage. The difference is the material is each one of us—the people who make up the church. The wreckage is the mess we’ve all made of our lives because of our sin. All of us have gone astray, and turned our backs on our Creator. No matter how good or bad we appear to be on the outside, this is true of all of us. And yet, this is how Christ builds his Church—something which exists to give him praise and glory, and to reflect something of himself to the world. He plucks us from the wreckage of our sin and makes something beautiful out of us.
How can we not be thankful for this?