The Christ Window in the balcony is intended to complement the cross hanging above our chancel. The window was created by Reinarts Studio of Winona, Minnesota and was funded entirely by memorial funds.
The window is designed to be interpreted vertically and horizontally. The top triangle symbolizes God as maker of the heavens and earth. The down-stretched hand of God receives response in the praying human hands in the bottom right frame.
To the left beneath the creation of stars and planets is the Nativity. The Star of Bethlehem is above the manger. The light of Christ floods the stable. Beside the manger are the sheep. Their presence can be interpreted in a number of ways.
Beneath the Nativity is Baptism. The font of water can remind us of water gushing from the rocks of Meribah where God responded to the pleas of the Israelites, or the promise of living (running) water given to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. The dove echoes the presence of the Spirit at the baptism of Christ. The seashell is an ancient sign of baptism symbolizing the death and rebirth of Christ. The staff represents the coming of the Shepherd of Israel. The falling water empties into a baptismal bowl and beneath are the vestments of the church’s ministry.
Below the Baptism is the Wedding at Cana. The sanctity of marriage is honored b the wedding rings and the bottles of wine. The empty wine bottles are replaced by the new wine of Christ. The changing of water to wine is the first miracle or sign recorded in the Gospel of John.
Beneath the wedding frame is the story of the Good Samaritan. The scandalous nature of the parable is reflected as the priest and the Levite pass ghost-like in the background. The figure of the unanticipated and unacceptable Samaritan bends in love to take care of one who has been beaten and stripped by robbers. “It’s a pieta!” exclaimed one viewer looking at the figure of compassion. The Christ-like resemblance of the victim is surely intentional.
The bottom right pane represents the Sermon on the Mount. People gather below the Ten Commandments at the base of the mount. The praying hands represent the Lord’s Prayer and the teachings on piety. The scales represent the higher justice which here Christ calls forth from the disciples. The candle reminds us that Christ’s disciples are “the light of the world.”
The second pane from the bottom on the right side represents the miracle of the Calming of the Sea. The sea is an ancient symbol of the chaos within nature that is beyond human control. The boat from ancient times represents the church. The Greek letters of chi and rho are the first two letters of the word Christ.
Above the Calming of the Sea is the window of the Lord’s Supper. The chalice, bread, grapes and wheat remind us of countless stories and parables in Scripture but focus most graphically upon the sacrifice of Jesus’ life and the continuous presence of God with us.
From the chalice a cross extends into the frame of Resurrection. Christ comes forth from the tomb as the guards sleep. The force and violence of the world is transcended by the love and power of God as life comes forth from death.
When the windows are viewed horizontally, the Nativity and Resurrection belong together defining the new creation in Christ. The Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the sacrament panes. Cana and The Calming of the Sea are the “sign” or miracle panes. The Good Samaritan and Sermon on the Mount remind us of the teachings of Christ. Numerous parallels of symbols can be found throughout the Christ Window. It is all right to play with these!
In the Middle Ages windows were designed to tell the story of the Gospel in a time when knowledge of the Bible was scarce. Our hope is that these windows will be able to do the same for years to come.
Funded by Memorials Honoring
Ralph C. Walters
Frame Construction: Dennis Rhodes
Lighting: Gary Crandall
Consultant: Lewis Laughead