Windows near chapel: salvation history
Installed at Holy Child Parish in August 1990
These scriptural prayer windows were designed by Egon Stratmann, a well-known liturgical artist for the diocese of Essen, Germany.
The process used in making these windows in Paderborn, Germany has not changed in nearly 700 years. The design is put onto heavy paper. Each piece is cut out, placed on coloured glass and cut with a diamond cutter. The detail designs (lamb, people, etc.) are then painted on the coloured glass. Each piece is baked, assembled into lead channeling which in turn is soldered together to complete the window.
The first window is divided into three zones from bottom to top. The lower green zone deals with humanity. The centre blue zone, with the theme of water, represents creation beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation. The golden yellow sets forth the Triune God.
In the first panel — Paradise: The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life spring up together with the river which divides to make four streams:
Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put the man he had fashioned. Yahweh God caused to spring up from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden. A river flowed from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided to make four streams. (Genesis 2:8-10)
But humanity in its arrogance went beyond God's command and ate of the fruit; its fall brought-it a taste of both good and evil:
The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked. (Genesis 3:6-7)
Then Yahweh God said, 'See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat some and live for ever.' So Yahweh God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken. (Genesis 3:22-23.)
Above the tree of the knowledge of good and evil appear the waters of the flood, and the rainbow —the sign of the Covenant that God has established with humanity:
God said, 'Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh.' (Genesis 9:12-15)
In the bright golden area at the top is the medieval symbol of the Triune God: the Father and Son in two faces encompassed by the dove, the symbol of the Spirit.
In the second panel appears the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Baptism lifts fallen humanity (shown in the centre bottom panel) out of guilt and sin. Baptism is the victory over spiritual death. God's Son himself accepts Baptism as a sign of His acceptance of all humanity's weakness. The dove (the Spirit) descends over Jesus and God unites himself with humanity:
The word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God. (Luke 3:2-5)
Now when all the people had been baptized and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on you.' (Luke 3:21-22)
We read the third panel from top to bottom. In the new life the throne of the Lamb of God stands full of light:
Then the angel showed me the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and street. On either side of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the pagans. The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)
There is no darkness, and the twelve gates will never close:
I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it. The pagan nations will live by its light and the kings of the earth will bring it their treasures. The gates of it will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there — and the nations will come, bringing their treasure and their wealth. Nothing unclean may come into it: no one who does what is loathsome or false, but only those who are listed in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:23-27)
The crystal clear river of life flows out of the throne. On either side of, the river stand the trees of life which bear twelve crops of fruit each year (see above Rev. 22:1-5). In the tree are represented the nations of the world living in peace and freedom. Canada is represented as well.
In the bottom panel, we, the saved, stand tall. We have been lifted up. We are free.