Over the weekend, tornadoes barreled through multiple states and caused significant damage. One of the hardest-hit states was Kentucky, where the tornadoes decimated countless homes and structures on Friday night.
First Christian Church in Mayfield, Kentucky, experienced the disaster firsthand. Senior minister Dr. Milton West told Today on Monday that following the tornado, the structural integrity of the building was rendered so poor that the staff feared the whole thing would soon collapse.
But amidst the rubble, one unique artifact stood undamaged: an altar carved with Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, The Last Supper.
According to Today, the church uses the stunning altar for their communion.
“The table of the Lord is intact,” First Christian Church wrote in a Facebook post.
West said the table and the cross that sits on it hold special meaning for every member of the congregation.
“It’s the center of our worship experience,” he said.
Since West did not know how long the building itself would hold up, he said saving the altar would be a top priority.
“Our goal for the day is we hope to get it out of the building and preserve it along with a few other artifacts,” he said.
“Our building is rapidly losing what little structural integrity it has left, so we are going to try to get at least that out today before we do anything else.”
At least 64 people had died from the tornadoes across the country as of Monday, Today reported. Four families who attend the Kentucky church had their homes completely destroyed.
“We grieve, we cry and we hug and we pull ourselves together and go to the next step of trying to recover and rethink where we want to be as a church, but our people have stayed strong during all of this,” West said.
He added that when a natural disaster strikes, many people are tempted to think God is punishing them in some way. West wanted to squash that lie right away.
“There are a lot of people out there who would say that this is a sign from God that something is wrong,” he said. “We do not embrace that notion at all. Our faith is positive, and God is never the author of bad things in people’s lives.”
As devastating as this event was, West said one positive is that the community is able to rally around one another.
“I think this gives people an opportunity to pull together for the common good,” he said. “Those differences don’t matter when you’re trying to rebuild your lives. I think we’re going to see [fractured relationships due to political and cultural differences] diminish here in Mayfield for quite some time.”
As the church congregation and the rest of the Mayfield community comes to terms with this tragedy, God provided them a beautiful reminder of his providence in all things.
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