Reflections Upon Our Stained-Glass Window
An excerpt from a sermon preached November 19, 2000 by Laura Fleetwood, former Associate Pastor.
When I first looked upon the stained-glass window at the front of our sanctuary, I was moved to tears. The window touched something very deep inside of me. As I have reflected upon the symbols and the movement in the glass, the meaning has become clear to me. I’d like to share my interpretation of the window–what it says to me– for I believe that it clearly defines the mission of this church and who we are as the family of Christ.
If you squint your eyes, what do you see? What stands out most in the window? Is it the large bold X? This is the Greek letter “Chi, ” the first letter of the title for Jesus, Christos. The bold “Chi” represents for me the risen Christ, victorious over death, our strength and our redeemer.
Just behind the “Chi” is the royal purple cross, the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice for us, the suffering Christ, who died for the sins of the world. The color purple symbolizes the kingship of Christ, “King of the Jews,” Lord of all of life. Notice the small arrows pointing out on the arms and base of the cross, symbolizing Christ reaching out into the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17, NRSV)
Behind the bold “Chi” and the purple cross shines a brilliant sun, penetrating through the arrows on the cross. This is Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Notice the yellow rays extending out from the sun into the world beyond. The sun also reminds me of the bright light that blinded the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, when he encountered the risen Christ who transformed his life and called him into ministry and service for the sake of Christ. “So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (II Cor. 5:17, NRSV)
Returning to the center, over the cross and the Chi, we see a large diamond, divided into four parts, symbolizing for me the four corners of the earth, reinforcing the imagery of the universality of Jesus Christ, the savior of the whole world. “He’s got the whole world in his hands!” Around the outside rim of the diamond is a bright red band, which picks up the red on the cross. For me, this symbolizes the blood of Jesus. We are saved through the blood of the lamb, who died on the cross for our sins. It is through the blood of Christ that we are cleansed of our sins and know salvation in Christ.
The shades of blue beyond the cross represent the world. The movement flows gracefully from Christ at the center out into the world. The purple banner that encircles the world symbolizes Christ in the world, and that is all of us! We are the hands and feet, the mouth and heart of Christ, encircling and embracing the needs of all God’s people, ministering in the world and to the world. We are purple, the same color as the cross, for we are a royal priesthood, sent out into the world on behalf of Christ. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2: 9, NRSV)
The movement of the entire window is flowing outward from Jesus Christ at the heart. When we are in Christ, in spiritual union with Christ, then we are filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to reach out, through the sacrificial blood of Christ, into the world. We are empowered to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all people.
As I reflect upon this window, I feel grounded in Christ who suffered and died for us, and I am lifted up by the resurrected Christ, who was victorious over death and lives among us today. Through Christ, we are brought out of our darkness into the light. It is because Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, because of God’s love for us, that we can each out in love to a hurting world. The purple banner flowing around the world also reminds me that God’s banner over us is love. We, as God’s holy people, are called together by God as the church, one body in Christ, equipped here in worship, prayer, study, and fellowship, so that we may go out into the world as ambassadors for Christ. This is our mission–to share the love of Jesus Christ with all people, to the end that God’s kingdom may reign on earth. Glory be to God! Amen! Amen!