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The Ascension of Christ: Coronation

Location:  Behind Altar
In Loving Memory of Louise Gandenberger
Donors: Henry, Marie and Phillip Heck

Text and Symbolism:
The Bible is rich in symbols which God uses to communicate to us. In the chancel window we see Jesus, the risen Lord, ascending to heaven in the clouds. The cloud is used throughout scripture as a symbol for Godís presence.

God led the children of Israel through the wilderness by means of a cloud (Exodus 13:21). For six days a cloud covered Mount Sinai as God spoke to Moses out of the cloud (Exodus 24:16). "The Cloud of the Lord" covered the tabernacle (Numbers 9). God told Moses that He would appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat in order to receive the blood offering offered on the Day of Atonement by the high priest, Aaron, (Lev. 16:2). According to the prophet Daniel, the Son of Man will come at the end of time "with the clouds of heaven" in order to judge the earth, (Dan. 7:13). That name, "Son of Man" is the one Jesus chose to reveal his identity. It is the name Jesus uses to describe his ministry.

The heavenly FATHER AFFIRMS His Sonís ministry as he speaks from a cloud at the Transfiguration of his Son (Matt. 17). Jesus tells his disciples that at the end of time the Son of Man shall return as judge (Matt. 24:30 & 26:64), coming in the clouds of heaven.  St. Luke describes our Lordís ascension, saying, "A cloud received him out of their sight", as Jesus ascended into the Fatherís presence. St. Paul tells us that on the last day we will join Jesus and be caught up with him in the clouds (I Thess. 4:17).

In the Revelation to St. John, the Son of Man is pictured as seated on a cloud, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand to reap the harvest of the earth, (Rev. 14:14-16).

In Johnís Gospel, Jesus is described as the eternal Word Who was with God, and Who was God from the very beginning. The eternal Son of God is symbolized as Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. "I am the alpha and omega," says the Lord God, "Who is and, Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty."

In the upper left corner of the window is a round ball, with a band around it and a cross above it. This is the symbol for the reign of the crucified and risen Lord over all the earth. In the upper right corner we see the crown of the King of Kings. In resplendent glory the victorious Christ returns to heaven in triumph to reign over every rule and authority.

Christ leaves us physically in order that he might be with us "always" even as he has promised (Matt. 28:20).

The Crucifixion

Location: Left Side of Church, Front
Presented in Memory of Mr. & Mrs. H. Brand
Date:  1928
Donors:  Unknown

Text and Symbolism:
Jesus, committing  His mother to John,  commends His spirit to the Fatherís hands.  The charge is  I.N.R.I.,  Latin for "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."  The three-part nimbus over His head declares Jesus is Son of God, third person of the Holy Trinity.  At His feet are the Greek letters Chi Rho,  first two letters in the Greek name for Christ.  The Greek letters Alpha & Omega appear with a crown above, signifying that our King is the beginning and end, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

At the bottom are three nails used in crucifixion.  Flowers at the foot of the cross seem to grow up on the gown of Mary,  (Is. 35:14). Coming up from the ground and growing on both sides of the cross is a branch, the cut off dynasty of King David.   "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."   The sun, above the cross shines on his right and is eclipsed at His left.  "From the 6th hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour," (St. Matthew 27:45) a darkness called Tenebrae.

John stands beside Mary, a pomegranate on his gown, a symbol found on the robe of Aaron, (Exodus 28:33-34).  Aaron is a type of Christ, our high priest, who offered himself a sacrifice. (Hebrews 9).  The pomegranate is a symbol for the church, many yet one in Christ.  The bursting pomegranate is the sign of resurrection.

The nimbus above Johnís head indicates he is Saint John.  The nimbus above St. Mary is filled with stars.  She is pictured in Revelation as a "woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev. 12:1-2).

The descending dove, the Holy Spirit, anoints Jesus at Baptism and leads him into the wilderness to be tempted.  The border crosses are called Barbee, a cross with spears, recall His suffering.  The sign of the fish, Ichthus confesses "Jesus Christ, Godís Son our Savior."

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Location: Left Side of Church, 2nd from Front
In Memory of August & Augusta Gandenberger
Date:  Cir. 1927
Donor:  Louise Gandenberger, their daughter.

Text and Symbolism:
In the Old Testament a shepherding God is firmly established in both the psalms and prophets.  David, the shepherd Kind, says:  "The Lord is my Shepherd" and then goes on to speak of personal, loving care he receives as a member of Godís fold.  In Psalm 80 God is called "Shepherd of Israel, Thou who leadest Joseph like a flock."

In the prophecy of Isaiah the coming Messiah is called Shepherd.  "He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those who are with young." (Isa.40:11)  The picture of Jesus holding a lamb in his arm is an echo of this verse.

The prophets spoke of the priests as shepherds, but many of them were false shepherds who lead Israel and Judah to worship idols (Jeremiah 50:6).  In the New Testament, Jesus contrasts himself from other religious leaders as the "Good Shepherd."  Unlike the hired shepherds who take off in the face of danger, Jesus says, "I am the good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me.  My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand." (John 10).

The background is a series of red circles, signs of the eternal.  This shepherd offers eternal life to all who follow him.  At his feet grow the lily of the valley and other flowers.  The lily is associated in art with the virgin birth and our Lordís incarnation.  The flowers growing in the desert are all part of the theme of the coming of Messiah when the desert shall bloom.

The Apostle, St. Paul

Location: Left Side of Church, 3rd from Front
In Memory of Otto B. Hartwich; Died in 1916
Date:  Cir. 1927
Donor:  Mrs. Hartwich

Text and Symbolism:
In Ephesians, Paul exhorts his readers to be strong in the Lord and put on the whole armor of God.  He tells them to take "the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Eph. 6:17)

In Revelation the victorious Word of God is seated on a white horse.  "From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty." (Rev. 19:15).

A huge sword is St. Paulís hands, a symbol of the great power in the Word of God as wielded by his servant.  He stands against a background of vines and grapes, signs of the fruits of the Spirit evidenced in the life of St. Paul.  At His feet are scrolls with a Celtic cross.  A circle is placed at the junction of the vertical and horizontal members,  representing eternity.  The Celtic cross was used widely in Ireland, also called the cross of Iona.

In the nimbus of light about his head are small clover leaves.  The three leafed clover is associated with the Holy Trinity.  Paul preached Christ, the crucified, and salvation based on and made available through his death, resurrection and exaltation as Lord.  Paul makes no effort to expound the teaching of the historical Jesus, His parables, sermons, or miracle stories.  His central theme is that all mankind is sinful and therefore condemned, but the free gift of God is in Christ.  We are justified before God by faith in Christ Jesus.

The Open Bible

Location: Left Side of Church, Rear
Given by the Young Peopleís Society
Date:  1927
Donors:  Young Peopleís Society

Text and Symbolism:
The "Holy Bible" is open against a background of red circles.  The circle, the unbroken line reminds us we are dealing here with that which is eternal.  "A voice says, ĎCryí and I said ĎWhat shall I cry?í  All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people is grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40:6-8)

This window given by Zionís Young Peopleís Society is an affirmation of their love for Bible study.  "How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to thy word.  I have laid up thy work in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." (119:9&11).  "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (199:105)

"You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God...That word is the good news which was preached to you." (I Peter 1:23, 25)

"I am not ashamed of the gospel:  it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also the Greek." (Romans 1:16)

Beneath the open Bible are two symbols, a cross and a crown.  The cross patonce or cross fleurie, with ends terminating in three petals is one of the most beautiful decorative crosses.  It reminds  us that the subject of scripture is Christ the crucified, and that all who trust in him will receive the gift of the crown of life.

Christ Risen in Victory

Location: Right Side of Church, Front
Presented in Loving Memory of Herman (1921)
and Johanna (1934) Niclas
Donor:  Mrs. Johanna Niclas (Mrs. Jennie Niclas Higgins)
Year:  Probably in 1927

Text and Symbolism:
Jesus, with pierced hands and feet, stands victorious over the grave.  He holds in his left hand the staff, with its banner of a red cross flowing, a symbol of his victory.  About his head is a nimbus, a halo of light, used in both pagan and Christian art to designate deity.  The nimbus that crowns our Lordís head is decorated with jeweled crowns, three in number, that speak to us of Holy Trinity and the reign of Christ, second person in the Triune God.

In the background of this art piece are red circles, which are also in windows #3, #6, and #8.  The unbroken line of the circle is the symbol of eternity and everlasting life; often a sign for the Eternal God.

At his feet are Easter Lilies.  The lilies began as bulbs, buried in the ground.  In the Spring, about Easter time, they come to life with pure white flowers, symbols of our Lordís resurrection from the dead.  The Lord speaks of the beauty of the lilies of the field that cover much of Palestine as signs of the heavenly Fatherís care.  In Christian art the gladiolus is a sign of the incarnation, and the lilium candidum is used as a popular symbol of the annunciation of the angel to Mary concerning the birth of Christ.

In the background, to the right of our Lordís head is a small cross, which is the symbol of our Lordís suffering and death, which Christ has overcome by his glorious resurrection from the dead.  The right hand of our Lord is lifted in benediction to bless us so that we who believe in Christ may share with him eternal life.

Jesus Blessing a Child

Location: Right Side of Church, 2nd from Front
Presented in Memory of Lucille Marie Grebenstein
Died November 7, 1925
Donors:  Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Grebenstein of    Thoma Ave., Maywood

Text and Symbolism:
"Children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.  The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."  And he laid his hand on them and went away." (Matthew 19:13-15)

To disciples who in pride dream of greatness, Jesus warns, they must turn and become like children.  "Turning" is the Biblical term for repentance.  The great ones in Christís Kingdom are those with childlike trust who believe in Christ.  Christ identifies with the "little ones."

Jesus blesses the child, laying his hands on the childís head.  Behind the Lord and around him is a sturdy vine with leaves and grapes on it.  Jesus said:  "I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Once again the Lordís head is crowned with the nimbus, the halo of light, with the three divisions of the Trinity, identifying Jesus as the second person of the Triune God.

As a decoration, the artist uses the cross patee, one of the most widely used forms of the decorative cross.  Its four arms curve outward, and its outer edges are straight.  Beneath the Lordís feet are flowers.

St. John, the Evangelist

Location: Right Side of Church, 3rd from Front
Presented by Henry, Marie and Phillip Heck
Donors:  Presented by Henry, Marie and Phillip Heck
Date:  Probably in 1927

Text and Symbolism:
We see a young man here with a pen in his right hand and a book under his left arm.  There is a nimbus around his head, but no division.  He is a saint, not deity.  The small heart above him and to his right is a signal that this is John, the beloved disciple of Jesus.  St. John is the author of the Gospel by his name, which emphasizes the theme of eternal life as the gift from God to those who receive by faith the eternal Word made flesh.  The signs of eternity, red circles, fill the background.

St. John also gives us Three Epistles and the Revelation from Christ.  John tells us the purpose of his writing:  "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31)

Jesus, the Teacher,
at the Home of His 
Friends Mary & Martha

Location: Right Side of Church, Rear
Presented by Mr. & Mrs. Diedrich Bischoff
Date:  Unknown
Donors:  As above

Text and Symbolism:
We see Jesus seated and Mary sitting down before him, hands folded, looking up to him, while Martha, arms filled with food, looks down at Mary.  Although St. Johnís gospel has much to say about Mary and Martha, this story is found in St. Lukeís gospel alone.

"Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lordís feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, ĎLord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me.í  But the Lord answered her, ĎMartha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.í" (Luke 10:38-42)

The oil lamp that hangs from the ceiling is a symbol for learning.  St. Luke stresses our need to hear the word of God and do it.  Mary is our example of a faithful Bible student.  When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness Jesus quoted the Scripture:  "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)  In what looks like a coat of arms we see a loaf of bread, and above it a crown.  Jesus offers us eternal life, here pictured as the crown of life.  The bread that Jesus offers is himself, his body on a cross, which is pictured at the lower right in a coat of arms, a cross with a crown above it.  This cross is called a cross botonnee, or cross trefflee, whose ends terminate in trefoils, often found on hymnals and corner stones.

The decorative crosses on this stained glass are called passion crosses,  whose ends are cut to points, representing the suffering of our Lord.  Perhaps Jesus spoke to Mary about his coming to Jerusalem to suffer and die.  According to St. John, Jesus visited his friends Mary and Martha to comfort them when their brother Lazareth died.  Jesus raised Lazareth from the dead, and then went to Jerusalem on the week we call "holy".