Windows tell the story of Jesus
the 1984 Bicentennial Committee
Our windows tell the story of the life of Jesus, as we move from the rear forward to the front of the church. The west side windows repeat in simpler form the same story as the larger windows on the east side. But the rest of the story is told elsewhere!
The east side windows: Entering the worship area, look to the left at the windows on the east side. The windows are in this order: Birth, Baptism, Preaching, and Passion. The light green tones outside the inner border represent for us the natural, created world into which the Gospel comes. This natural field is broken in upon by the heavenly messenger with God’s Word to men. The blue backgrounds with their figures inside the broken outlines show us the shattering of the natural world by the God-Event, Jesus, telling us God’s message from the heavenly blue.
Birth: In the first window we find the shining Christmas Star at the top. Just below are the holy Family; “Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:16) In the center we see the coming Wise Men with their gifts for the King, as told by Matthew. The lower figures show the boy Jesus in the Temple with teachers, “hearing them and asking them questions”, as recounted by Luke.
Baptism: The second window has at the top the descending dove as the symbol of the Holy Spirit that came on Jesus at his baptism. (John 1:32) Just below is the portrayal of John baptizing Jesus. In the center of the window we see the Temple with its pinnacle which reminds us of the temptation of Jesus. (Luke 4) The lower figures symbolize the calling of the disciples of Jesus (Mark 1:16-20)
Preaching: The third window’s top symbol is the open Bible representing the preached Word. The upper figures show us Jesus as the Good Shepherd. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11) And in the center the door reminds us again of Jesus’ words in John “I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” At the bottom we see Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount, which Matthew records in chapters 5, 6 and 7.
Passion: The fourth window at its top shows a cup, reminding us how Our Lord in his agony in the garden prayed, “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me.” And just below, the figures show Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, even as we see the approaching dim figures of soldiers to arrest him. In the center we can see Pilate, finally agreeing to crucify Jesus, seeking to absolve himself by symbolically washing his hands. The lower figures show us Jesus, “and he went out, bearing his own cross”, while behind him is Simon of Cyrene, who helped bear the cross, and before him is the Roman soldier, ready to take him to the crucifixion.
West side windows: Now turn and look to the west side. The windows repeat, in simpler form, the same story. The symbol in each window reemphasizes the major theme of its partner window in the eastern wall. The first window is the Christmas Star, again telling of his wonderful birth. The second window shows the Descending Dove, symbolically reminding us of the Holy Spirit coming upon him in a new and special way at his baptism. The third window shows us the open Bible, symbol of preaching; for, as John said, “In the beginning was the Word.” The fourth window has the Crown of Thorns and the Nails, not just symbols of his Passion, but the Crucifixion itself.
The rest of the story: But neither set of windows tell the whole story. They are incomplete. We have to look further–up above the altar to the Cross. Jesus “became obedient unto death; even the death of the Cross.” He went to Calvary; he suffered; he died; he was buried. Without the Cross the story would be incomplete. But you will note that it is an empty cross. No agonizing figure hangs there. Death could not hold him; the grave could not keep him; “up from the grave he arose!” “He is risen; the Lord is risen indeed!” Risen! Ascended! Our Cross shows it by its beautiful halo of light. “And he shall reign for ever and ever! Amen”
About the windows and cross: The windows are contemporary in design but are made in the traditional manner of stained glass. The glass is hand-blown antique glass leaded together. There are approximately 700 individual pieces of glass in each window. The figures are painted and fired on the glass. The windows were designed and painted by James O’Hara and made and installed by the Pike Stained Glass Studios of Rochester, New York.
The huge wooden cross in the center of the Chancel is backed with neon lights which were turned on by Bishop Ledden at the time of Consecretation November 9, 1958, and have burned continuously day and night suggesting the presence of Christ in The Sanctuary. This cross is the focal point of the Nave and Chancel and is the final chapter of the story depicted in the windows. As the universal symbol of Christianity it proclaims Christ’s victory over sin and death.