The D.C. Earthquake and the One-Armed Jesus Statue

With all the talk about the damage that the recent earthquake here did to the Washington Monument and the spires of the Anglican Washington National Cathedral, I thought I’d mention some earthquake damage which I haven’t seen on the news: my own church, St. Mary’s, now has a Crucifix with a one-armed Jesus, as the Statue’s other arm broke off in the quake:

At first, I was really saddened by the damage to one of the Crucifixes dearest to my heart.  But upon a little reflect, I realized that such a connection between the Crucifixion and earthquakes is quite appropriate.  In Matthew’s account of the Passion, he emphasizes (Mt. 27:45-54):

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely, He was the Son of God!”
So the Statue’s missing arm points to Jesus’ Passion in yet one more way, unintended by any human artist.  In that light, it’s sort of beautiful.
Like the centurion brought to faith by the earthquake, there’s at least one other person who has an earthquake to thank: Robert Valderzak, whose deafness was cured by Tuesday’s earthquake.
One final earthquake story, which those of you who are friends with me on Google + already know: when I arrived home Tuesday night, I discovered that the Earthquake had knocked exactly one Book off my shelf: the Bible, knocked open to a description of the Apocalypse:
So yes, God does have a sense of humor.  
And yes, I know both pictures are blurry.  Just pretend I took them mid-earthquake.


  1. Sincere (non-sarcastic) sympathies to you all on the recent quake in your area.

    May there be no sequence of aftershocks, but may the reminder of mortality be of use to those who needed it. (Our quake with its 7000 aftershocks hurried my thinking along, somewhat.)

    Christian greetings.

  2. Thank you, Otepoti! It’s much appreciated — the quake here was not nearly as bad as the one you had in February — this one didn’t kill anyone, for example. Now, we’re getting some heavy rains from Hurricane Irene, but it looks like it won’t do too much lasting damage, either. Prayers are definitely appreciated, of course. God bless!


  3. From another friend right after the earthquake: Opened up my book where I left off last night … “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)

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