A painting of Jesus Christ somehow survived unharmed in a massive fire in Massachusetts that burned a historic 150-year-old church to the ground.
Lightning struck the 180-foot steeple of the First Baptist Church in Wakefield on Wednesday, news station WCVB reported, sparking a devastating fire that burned the roof of the structure almost all the way through.
Nearly everything inside the church was destroyed, except for a large portrait of Jesus Christ on a cloudy blue background, which was somehow untouched by the flames.
"Our faith is one of hope and resurrection," First Baptist Church Pastor Norm Bendroth said.
"We believe you can rise from the ashes, and joy comes in the morning."
The Boston Globe reported that local residents who gathered at the remains of the 1872 church were in disbelief when they saw workers carrying away the painting.
Susan Auld, a former parishioner who was married there, revealed that the painting will be given to a former pastor of the church.
Auld said that she watched the fire consume the church for over four hours.
"When the windows were all aglow — every stained glass window was aglow — it looked like you were looking into Hell," the woman said. "It was just an awful, awful sight."
Michael Sullivan, the town's fire chief, revealed that powerful thunderstorms and downed power lines made for dangerous conditions leading up to the church fire.
"It appears to have struck the front of the church somewhere in the steeple area,'' Sullivan said of the lightning strike. "It really wasn't showing a lot of fire [initially], but it broke out very shortly after we arrived."
Church officials thanked firefighters for their work, and said that they are grateful that no one was hurt due to the fire.
"We know that we serve a God who specializes in restoring brokenness and who can bring beauty even from ashes," a statement read. "So we move into the future with trust, hope, and gratitude."
Bendroth said that clergy from other local churches had already offered space for the 100 member congregation of First Baptist Church to come worship.
Still, the pastor noted that many will feel the pain of losing the church building.
"Many of them were born in this town. They were baptized in this church," he said. "You know, they were hoping to die in this church."
Chris Rankin, one church member, described the fire as "unexpected and shocking."
"It's been very important to us and our family," Rankin said. "We come every Sunday."
Amy Burd, a teacher at Tall Spire Nursery School, which had its classrooms inside the church, admitted that a part of her heart will have been left inside.
"You just try and focus on the fact that the building is just a building," Burd said. "The building doesn't hold all the love that happens in there."
Courtesy of The Christian Post