In magnificent cathedrals gracing great European cities and in simple country churches within the Diocese of Ottawa, stained glass windows tell a story. Originally envisioned as a way to teach the narratives of the Bible, and key theological principles, to a largely illiterate populace, stained glass continues to add colour, beauty and mystery to sacred spaces around the world.
Familiar Christian subjects include Jesus the Good Shepherd, the Nativity, the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension, as well as the activities of those big ‘S’ saints through the ages.
Stained glass art is now often also a sought-after décor statement in places of business, public venues and private homes. Sophisticated themes, intricate designs and inspiring colours, combine to give birth to a unique creation wrought by skillful hands. And each piece tells a story.
Have you ever heard the quote, “Saints are like stained glass windows. Christ shines through them.”? It doesn’t refer simply to those canonized in generations passed, their holy exploits, and often gruesome deaths, recorded for posterity in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church or any of multiple renditions of the Lives of the Saints. This quote refers to us.
“You are the light of the world…let your light so shine before others…” Matthew 5:14
As we continue to strive to open our lives more fully to God’s Presence and God’s will, the light of Christ begins to shine more brightly through us. Our windows won’t be flawless, of course, there will be imperfect pieces that still need the Creator’s touch. Our thoughts, our words, our attitudes, our behavior are illuminated, not by our own efforts, but are transformed by God’s grace. We can be Christ-lights for a world trapped in darkness and desperate to catch a glimpse of the dawn. We can tell the story.
Photo: Original stained glass by Peter+. Ask him its story!
Prayer: Lord, as daylight fills the sky, I pray to be filled with your holy light. Guide me this day to let it shine through me as I witness to your Presence and share the Gospel story, or even just wish someone a blessed, rather than a happy, Easter! Amen.
Shine, Jesus Shine; fill this land with the Father’s glory; blaze, Spirit, Blaze; set our hearts on fire…
Lord, the Light of Your Love is Shining
Graham Kendrick #460 Common Praise