The Cross and Crown Stained Glass Windows
in the Good Shepherd Room at
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
It was in the 1920s when the Lutherans of the small Village of Union Grove decided to build a church building on the edge of town. Skilled labor and willing hearts and minds worked together to make this a solid, well constructed building. The members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church wanted this to be a token of their faith and commitment to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The war was over and the economy was booming. These folks gave of their blessings willingly to make this a beautiful church. The altar, pulpit, lectern and other furnishings were of the finest workmanship. The sun shone through the stained glass windows with a blaze of color. It was truly a beautiful church built with love and patience.
But here is where this story needs to pause. In addition to the beautiful stained glass windows lining the sides and back of the church there were two small windows high up on the North wall flanking the ornate white and gold altar. It is a mystery why, but not long after the church building was finished these two windows were covered and plastered over. Hidden from sight for years they were forgotten by many. Years passed, the congregation grew and the parishioners built a new and larger building even further out of town.
One day many years later a young woman walking by the outside of this small brown church looked up and noticed the two small windows. Wondering about them she spoke with her father-in-law. He, being the owner of the building, took a ladder, his hammer and chisel and began investigating. The small windows were removed, taken to a local stained glass artisan, a member of St. Paul’s, who voluntarily cleaned, repaired and mounted them in lighted display cases.
Once more these two stained glass windows are mounted on a North wall flanking the cross that was the focal point of the original altar. One is the “Crown” window and the other is the “Cross” window.
You may see them in the Good Shepherd Room at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Union Grove, WI.
5. Petition 5 – “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those . . .” Our forgiveness from God has been purchased by Christ on the cross. Here we see the cross and the hand of God, the one responsible for sending Christ to die for us and for sending the Holy Spirit so we can believe through faith. Below are two hands depicting our forgiveness towards each other.
6. Finally the glory of creation, the Sixth Day. Gen. 1:24-31. God’s crowning creation, man and woman, is shown by the hand of God and His power (streaked violet). The Triune God creates man and woman in His image and institutes marriage with the command to be fruitful and multiply. The man and woman’s hands are enjoined – “flesh of flesh” and a helpmate. “There was evening and morning of the sixth day”.
6. Here is the Ark of the Covenant. The people spared nothing to make this beautiful, as God commanded. See the cherubim overlooking the mercy seat – the seat of God. There are rings of gold and poles of acacia wood for transporting the Ark by the Levite Priests. The brazen serpent, which was lifted up in the desert to stop death from the venomous snakes for all who looked to it reminds us of looking to Christ hanging on the Calgary cross for our salvation and eternal life. The hand of God is again shown to symbolize that all is in the sovereign control of the Creator.
Windows at the Back of the Church
Here we see the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments. Christ is the living WORD, the Light of our Salvation, who is found in the printed Word of God. The Bread and Wine are the SACRAMENT of Holy Communion and the Shell and Water tell of the SACRAMENT of Holy Baptism. All three of these symbols are connected by a circular link. Each part of the Means of Grace is a part of the whole of our salvation.
4. The third small window shows the Fourth Day of creation. Gen. 1:14-19. The creation of the heavenly bodies. The stars and constellations are sand blasted in the night sky along with a crescent moon, the “great light of the night”. The “great light of the day” is the sun, also sandblasted in yellow antique glass. “Evening and morning, the fourth day”. The colorful streaked glass leading from heaven to earth again symbolizes the hand of the Triune God and His power.
3. Petition 3 – “Thy will be done . . .” God’s will is made known to us in many ways. Here are the Ten Commandments again to remind us of His Law as a guide for our life. Rays show God’s light and glory. The hands of God’s people are receiving through faith His commands and responding with praise and adoration.
The Second Set of Seven Windows Depicts The Lord’s Prayer.
East Side of the Nave, Beginning at the Left
The First Set of Two Windows Shows the Birth and Baptism of Jesus Christ
7. The New Jerusalem – Rev: 21 & 22 – The glory of God is shown in New Jerusalem – a city of gold. From the gates of pearl a river flows. We see fruit bearing trees, a promise of Heaven. Also present are symbols of the fires and smoke of Hell. This is the reality of Heaven and Hell.
6. Petitions 6 and 7 - “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” This petition is symbolized by the serpent in the tree of knowledge of good and evil. One side of the tree is missing some fruit. Here was the beginning of original sin. We ask that God would protect us from the evil of sin.
The Last Supper – shown through color and symbol. White in the center represents the purity of Christ and the table – His Holy Altar. Grapes are filling a golden chalice with wine – the Blood of Christ. Wheat made into bread – the Body of Christ.
1. Matthew: The moneybags refer to his occupation before he was called to follow Christ. He was a tax collector. 2. Andrew: According to tradition Andrew was crucified on an X shaped Cross. 3. Bartholomew: Armenia and India are believed to have been areas of his missionary work. It is said that he was flayed alive and crucified. 4. Thomas: A carpenter’s square with blade and handle, and a spear with head and handle. It is said that Thomas built a church with his own hands, thus the builders square. The spear refers to the instrument of his martyrdom. 5. Jude: The sailing vessel portrayed here represents the journeys of Jude to many ports as he did missionary work for Christ. 6. John: This emblem of John the “Beloved Apostle” refers to the legend of a poisoned chalice being offered to him, in an attempt to take his life. Top right going down – 7. James, the Less: This symbol refers to the tradition that James was cast down from a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and sawn asunder by the enemies of Christ. 8. Judas: Thirty pieces of silver and a rope. Silver the price paid for the betrayal of Christ, the rope as the means of his suicide. 9. Philip: It was Philip who answered Christ when he asked about feeding the multitude in John 6:7. The symbols represent two loaves of bread at the base of the cross. 10. Simon: The companion of Jude on many missionary journeys, Simon is known as a “fisher of men” through the power of the Gospel as symbolized by the Bible. 11. James, the Greater: He is the first disciple we hear of going on a missionary journey. The three scallop shells refer to a pilgrimage for our Triune God. 12. Peter: Because he felt unworthy to die as had Christ, tradition says that Peter requested that his cross be inverted so that he might look heavenward as he was crucified. Keys symbolize the Office of the Keys given to the pastoral ministry.
5. The Final Harvest - Rev.14: 1-3 – Here the Lamb stands on Mount Zion. The sound heard is like that of a harp playing a new song before the throne.
The Fourth Set of Windows Depicts the End Times.
4. Next is Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. God (I AM) is present as shown by His hand and the burning bush. Moses is depicted by his staff and removed sandals because of the holy ground.
7. Here is the end of the Israelites’ journey as they enter the Promised Land, flowing with milk (white glass) and honey (yellow glass) around the grapes brought back by faithful Joshua and Caleb. Notice the contrast between the barren desert in the second window of this set and the green flower-filled fields in this window. Moses is not present here. He was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. He entered a better place, the Promised Land of Heaven as seen in the last window on the East side of the nave.
Stained Glass Windows in the Choir Loft
All of the symbols in this large window depict joyful song to our Lord of Lord and King of Kings. At the top we see a glorious crown depicting our Triune God. The musical notes, keyboard, bells, harp, and horn/shofar are all instruments used to praise God. The Shepherd’s crook/staff reminds us of the author of the Biblical songbook, David the Shepherd boy. The Book of Psalms is shown by a scroll of music. The colors of the rainbow go from dull to brilliant reminding us that our poor music is made glorious as it ascends to our God.
2. God leads His people out of Egypt into the desert. The gray glass is the pillar of cloud that went ahead of His people by day. The red glass symbolizes the pillar of fire that went ahead of His people at night. The Israelites are silhouetted with Moses in the lead. The light yellow glass at the bottom symbolizes the desert where the people wandered forty years.
7. The Conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer – “For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen”. Here the all-powerful hand of God the Father is reaching down from heaven with a two edged sword representing the power of His Word. Here we see the dividing of those who do not reject Him from those who do. The red around the sword represents Christ. The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Here is our awesome, mighty God!
The Third Set of Seven Windows Shows the Passion Week and Resurrection.
Christ Before Pilate – The lavender robe, laurel, and gold staff symbolize Pilate as he stands in judgment of Christ. The scales represent the power given to him by God to condemn or release Christ. The blue under the scale reminds us of the water Pilate used to wash his hands of the matter. The angry mob calling for Christ’s death is shown by the clenched fists behind Pilate. Clenched fists are a stark contrast to the open hands seen in other windows.
The Resurrection – Trumpets herald the risen Savior! Lilies depict new life! The intense yellow rays extending from the now empty tomb show the glory of the risen Savior. The banner of triumph is raised on a staff in the shape of the cross. Victory over death by Christ for us! Heaven is open to all who do not reject Jesus Christ!
5. The Wrath of God is symbolized here because of the worship of the false god, the golden calf. It is broken to show that no god is more powerful than the Triune God. The broken tablets show Moses’ anger and the dark sky and lightning show God’s anger. The false god/calf is being melted in a fire – the red glass below.
Beginning on the West Side at the Left the First Set of Seven Windows Depicts the Seven Days of Creation.
3. The second small window, depicts Gen. 1:9-13 the Third Day of Creation. The gathering of the waters to one place, the dry ground appearing and the creation of seed bearing plants and trees. The center ray and blue streaked glass symbolize the power of God in His creation.
2. The Triumphant Lamb of God - Rev.5: 1-14 – Standing in Heaven for all to see, Christ the Lamb of God is worthy to open the scroll with the seven seals.
2. The Baptism of Christ. Here is Christ with a red halo and cross having water poured over him by John the Baptist. The heavens are open and the Holy Spirit is descending on Christ anointing Him for His ministry. This is also a testimony that Jesus was, in fact, the awaited Messiah. The yellow ray shaped like a teardrop shows Christ’s intimate connection with God the Father. Here we see the three persons of the Trinity present at the baptism of Jesus.
The Scourging of Christ - Christ is mocked with a purple robe, a crown of thorns, and a staff made of a reed. The instruments of scourging are shown at the bottom with red signifying the Blood of Christ. The Cross and Orb symbolize God’s Sovereignty as His Son suffers for us.
6. Judgment Day - Rev.19 & 20: 1-15 - God’s all seeing eye in a triangle represents the Triune God meting out judgment on the sheep and goats. The scrolls show the Book of Life.
3. The Angel Offering Incense - Rev. 8: 1-5 – The angel standing by the altar offers incense in a golden censer. This is offered up with the prayers of all the saints. The clouds at His feet and the lightning represent the fire from the altar that the angel hurled at the earth.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
4. Petition 4 – “Give us this day our daily bread.” Here is the harvest of wheat for daily bread. Clouds in the sky bring rain and replenish the fields with life-giving sustenance. The watchful eye of God does all this, for He cares for His creation. The gift of daily bread reminds us of the gift of Christ, the Bread of Life.
4. The Two Witnesses - Rev.11: 3-7 – The two witnesses sent to earth by God, hold scrolls containing the Word of God and fire. In Revelation we read that the fire comes from their mouth and devours their enemies. Look closely; the men’s robes are tree trunks with leaves behind. “These are the two olive trees . . . that stand before the Lord”.
The Tomb – Here is the shroud used to wrap the body and the oils used to anoint the body in preparation for burial. Christ is dead.
1. The Birth of Christ. Joseph and Mary surround Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. The red in the Babe’s halo looks to the cross. The stars not only symbolize the Holy Trinity and night but the large center star with yellow rays descending on Jesus represents God’s glory and oneness with the Christ Child.
5. The next window shows the Fifth Day. Gen. 1:20-23. Look closely. This is much like window 3 with a new and exciting addition to God’s creation. Living creatures – the water teaming with life and the skies filled with the fowls of the air. “ And there was evening and morning of the fifth day”.
The Good Shepherd Window in the Narthex
(Large Center Windows)
Jesus, by His death and resurrection formed His church for all nations. He is shown as a Good Shepherd caring for His sheep. On the right side of the Good Shepherd are pictures telling of St. Paul’s conversion and his prayer of repentance. To the left of the Good Shepherd are pictures showing Paul preaching in Ephesus and as a prisoner in Rome. The chains are broken, for the Word of God is not bound, nor are His servants. Paul, therefore, is an inspiration for all as we struggle with our “chains” of this life. May we confess Christ, as did St. Paul. Good Shepherd Window (cont.) (Small Windows – from Left to Right) 1st Top – A Fish symbolizes Jesus Christ. Here it refers us to His work in the conversion of Saul to Paul. 2nd Top – the Griffin is a symbol of the resurrection; our resurrection, which we share with Christ. He died and rose and so shall we. 3rd Top – the Crown of Thorns symbolizes the suffering of our King of Kings for us. 4th Top – The Dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. This is the Third Person of the Godhead, and the power which was working when Paul raised the young man from death. This is also the power, which will raise us from our temporal death to eternal life. 5th Top – The Hand of God - our Sovereign God, who made and controls all creation. 1st Bottom – Rocks and Quill – The traditional symbol for Stephan, the first martyr. Before stoning him his clothes were taken from him and laid at the feet of a young man standing by whose name was Saul. (Later to be called Paul.) 2nd Bottom – The Lamb and Victory Banner remind us of THE Lamb’s victory over death and assurance of our salvation. 3rd Bottom – The Scroll and Quill Pen symbolize the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God as written down for us by Holy Men of God.
Windows Above the Mailboxes in the Narthex This simple window reminds one and all that Christ is the only way to Heaven. Christ, the WORD, is depicted by the scroll, which was written by inspiration of God for us. “In many and various ways, God spoke to His people of old by the prophets, but now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” Hebrews 1:1-2a.
7. At last the Seventh Day. Gen 2:1-3 Adam and Eve are symbolized in worshipful prayer in response to God. God set aside day seven as a holy day, a day of rest. We also see in this window a look forward to His covenant with man through Noah, His servant, symbolized by the rainbow.
1. Introduction and Petition 1 – “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name”. Here the almighty hand of God reaches down to His creation. Rays represent God’s glory and that He is the light of the work. The hands below are symbolic of God’s creatures reaching up to heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit, offering prayer, praise, and adoration to our King.
The Crucifixion of Christ – Christ on the cross. The sign “King of the Jews” is atop the cross. Dark skies with lightning striking the temple signify the tearing of the curtain in the temple, which separated the Holy of Holies from the people. This is a reminder that God is available to all people through His Son, Jesus Christ.
2. Petition 2 – “Thy Kingdom come”. Jesus often referred to the Kingdom of God in parables. This window uses the parable of the mustard seed being the smallest of seeds growing into a large plant able to sustain all types of life. Such is the Kingdom of God. The phoenix shown here is symbolic of Christ’s resurrection showing that Christ reigns in His Kingdom even as we ask.
3. This is God’s Providence window. This was the answer to Israel’s grumbling for water, meat, and bread. The rock to which Moses spoke for water is shown in gray and blue – water flowing from the rock. This symbolizes the water, which Christ gives us so we will never thirst again. God’s answer for meat is in the sending of quail. The “honey of the desert”, manna - bread from heaven - is shown by the sandblasted yellow glass at the bottom.
1. The large window, is representative of the First Day of creation as told to us in Genesis 1:1-5. The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters. The hand of God and the power of His Word (Jesus the Son), in creation is symbolized by the gray swirl. The rays symbolize the light called into being by the Triune God. Light blue at the top and dark at the bottom symbolize “there was evening and there was morning – the first day”.
1. The large window to begin this set graphically depicts the Passover of Exodus 12. The lamb is the sacrificial lamb symbolizing the Lamb of God. The unleavened bread was a part of the Passover meal, as were the bitter herbs. The red glass symbolizes the blood painted on the posts and lintel of the door to protect the children of Israel as the Angel of Death passed over their house.
The Second Set of Seven Windows on the West Side Looks Far Ahead to the Leading of the Israelites Out of Egypt to the Promised Land and the Covenant of a Coming Messiah to the People of God.
1. The Seven Churches - Rev.1: 12-16 - Christ is represented by the white cloud and the Alpha and Omega. Christ speaks to the seven churches as shown by seven stars and seven candlesticks.
Agony in the Garden – Christ is kneeling as He prays to His Father. The ray coming down from Heaven shows the Father’s presence. In the background we see the spears of the people coming to arrest Christ.
2. The first small window, at the top is the Second Day. This window depicts the command of God “Let there be an expanse (firmament) between the waters to separate the waters above from the waters below”. Gen. 1:6-8. The dark blue at the bottom shows the water of the earth. Light blue in the center is the “expanse (firmament)”, the “sky” that God Himself named. The blue rising up is the water of the heavens being separated from the waters below by the Word of God.
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