Is the End Near? A Painting of Jesus Was the Lone Survivor of a Seven-Alarm Fire That Incinerated a 150-Year-Old Church

Is the painting's survival a miracle?

The First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on fire. Photo courtesy of Marty Wisniewski via Facebook.
The First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on fire. Photo courtesy of Marty Wisniewski via Facebook.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: In what could be interpreted as a sign from from a vengeful God, calling on his people to turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel, a painting of Jesus miraculously survived a seven-alarm fire that destroyed the historic First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, this week. (Alternately, the painting’s survival could be seen as a sign of hope and faith. Depends what kind of mood you’re in.)

According to eyewitness reports, the hellish conflagration ignited when lightning struck the church steeple Tuesday night during a severe storm. (You can’t make this stuff up.) The 150-year-old building was soon engulfed in flames, and everything was destroyed by the resulting inferno—everything, except the painting.

“I was down about a mile away and I just saw this fireball in the sky. It just went up like a tinderbox. It’s a building built in 1870 and and it’s balloon-style so once the fire starts you know the whole building just went up quickly,” the church’s pastor, Norman Bendroth, told local news outlet Boston 25 News.

In the wake of the apparent lightning strike, construction workers began working to clear the ruins of the church. As the building burned to the ground, the chapel partially collapsed, presenting a challenge for crews tasked with taking down what was left of the historic landmark.

As for the unlikely survivor, the painting of Jesus Christ had hung at the entrance to the church. Amid the ashes, it was almost miraculously untouched, marked by only a few drips of water. A parishioner removed the canvas and is currently storing it in their house.

Despite the devastation wrought by the flames, the church community is already looking to rebuild. “Our faith is one of hope and resurrection and we believe that we can rise from the ashes and joy comes in the morning,” Bendroth told local station WCVB.

A GoFundMe supporting the church in the aftermath of the fire has already raised over $11,000 toward its goal of $50,000.

See photos of the church before, during, and after the fire below.

The First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of the First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

The First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on fire. Photo courtesy of Trevor Hardy via Facebook.

The First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on fire. Photo courtesy of Trevor Hardy via Facebook.

Fire fighters extinguish the flames at the First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Ginny Cummings via Facebook.

Fire fighters extinguish the flames at the First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Ginny Cummings via Facebook.

First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Photo by Deborah Knight, via Facebook.


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