Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Meaning of the Hand Crafted Stained Glass Windows in our New Sanctuary at Christ Lutheran Church, Valparaiso, IN

We Are Blessed to have members of Christ Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, IN that have time and talents to do wonderful things, like Design, Create and Install the stained glass windows in our new sanctuary! Won't you join us on Sundays in worship and experience the beauty for yourselves. All are welcome here! Until then, here is the story behind the meaning of each window behind the altar......


God creates! And sheds his Spirit to be with those created in his image, man and woman. He establishes his Covenant with his chosen people Israel, whose twelve tribes are represented in the central motif. The deep blue at the bottom of the design recalls the waters of Creation, the triangular section in red names the tribe of Judah from which shall come The King of Kings, the green and gold tell of the richness of life that God has promised to his people.


This is the Jesse Tree - the family tree of Christ -deriving front Isaiah's prophecy of the coming Messiah from the royal line (Judah) of David (Star of David motif): "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots". This motif has a rich historical place in stained glass story-telling, dating back to the first half of the twelfth century, Christ's words "I am the vine, you are the branches" underline the basic, all-embracing metaphor of the root and branch of salvation. Hope for an errant Creation!


God's giving of the Law is seen as a scroll, a scroll torn by Israel as they refuse to obey the perfect plan given to them. Brokenness results between people and God, between one with another. The rich gold is infiltrated by the murky brown and one can only perceive through the glass darkly. The center of all of this is hope in the promise of God to all of his children that nothing can separate them from his love. The blue and red burn with hope and the promise of salvation from sin.


The Chosen turn their backs on God, and in despair, know destruction, death, and hell. Alone, colorless, transparent, distorted. Here are a people and individuals without purpose - or God. The rich gold is dimmed, but still surrounds, the deep blue envelopes the experience of despair. God, however, forgets not His promises and so the deep blue is also of a gracious, loving Father, The Spirit and the hope persist, at the center of it all.


With the chalice we remember: "This is my body, this is my blood...given for you". The new life is now nourished. The risen Christ shares our new life and by his presence we live and move and have our being. The deep blue of hope is framed here by the sacrificial red of Christ's own blood, poured out for us for the forgiveness of our sins. The chalice set within the green of new life proclaims the resurrected Lord and Savior.


The Spirit and waters of Creation are restored to all of God's people. We are re-created and receive new life through God's gift of Baptism. He comes to offer abundant life and tells us that he is the light of the world. Whoever believes this shall have everlasting life. The gold shines with un-marred intensity!


A mirror image of' One West - the believer becomes as Christ: God's image on earth for service. The life with God is a life of hope and joy, committed to God's people, and anticipating the life to come. Life everlasting is expressed by the up-turned face, the uplifted hands. The beginning and ending (alpha and omega) of Christian living is in love toward God and Neighbor.


Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, becomes the son that God intended Israel to be. He becomes God's image to serve, not to be served. The symbol above the Christ figure's head is the triquetra and circle, demonstrating the continuous indivisibility of the Holy Trinity. As the light shines through this figure of Jesus, son of man, notice how his face, upturned in praise and adoration of his Father in heaven, is illumined by that "light" from above.

Barbara Clements, 1985

The project committee was comprised of these three workers:

Barbara Clements - design, and project director

Debra Stack - glass craft

Bernhard Bittorf - installation and advisor

These windows will give worshipers inspiration for decades to come. Let us give thanks unto the Lord for His goodness!

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