This week our new stained glass windows at church were installed. This project has been in the works for almost a year. And I understand that the congregation always intended to put in stained glass windows someday. The church was built almost twenty years ago.
On Tuesday night, the windows in the nave were installed, and tonight they installed the window in the pastor’s study. The windows contain symbols for the six chief parts of Luther’s Small Catechism. The seventh window, in my study, has Luther’s seal.
Stained glass windows have historically been a means for teaching the faith, even to those who were not able to read. I am looking forward to making use of these windows to teach the core elements of the Christian faith. And yes, even to those unable to read. Just today I walked with Lydia (she’s 3) into church and had her guess what the symbols were for. She knows some of them. The easiest for her is baptism. The older two kids can at least name the chief parts. We’re working on learning them.
I imagine that there will be many opportunities to refer to these windows in sermons, chapel devotions, catechism fields trips, etc.. The ones in the back of church (Commandments, Creed, Lord’s Prayer) are more like summaries of the faith, whereas the three in front of church (Baptism, the Keys, the Lord’s Supper) are more specific. These are the concrete ways in which God brings to us the content of our faith. But all of these will surely find constant application to our life as a congregation and constant use in daily lives as Christians.
There is yet another use that I believe these windows will have. When evening comes, and the lights inside the church are on, light shines through these windows and displays the same images to those who drive along Hondo Pass. Perhaps they won’t get a good look at the symbols. Perhaps they wouldn’t even know what they mean. But maybe, just maybe, they will give some of our people the opportunity to explain them to someone. Of course, that means that our people must know what they mean. They really should be taught (catechized) well enough that they not only know and take to heart the basics of the Christian faith, but that they can then relate that to others. I guess that’s our goal, and these pieces of glass and metal will, God-willing, give us, both inside the church and outside, the opportunity to reach it.
On Sunday, during our 40th Anniversary service, we will dedicate these windows to this use. I’ve uploaded an album of pictures of the windows here.