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History of The Stained Glass Windows

Interior of Christ Lutheran Church Christ Lutheran Church traces its roots back to the late 1800’s, when the Young Peoples Mission Band, a small group, organized at 15th and Shoop Streets, later to become Memorial Lutheran Church. Since opinions differed on location of a new church, 62 members withdrew to select 13th and Thompson Streets, location of our church site today. Charter members originally favored Salem Lutheran as the name, then considered Holy Trinity and eventually settled on Christ Church.

In 1926 the windows of Christ Lutheran Church were installed to illustrate the story of Jesus Christ. All church art began in order to help those attending learn more about God and Christianity. Back then, books were costly and rare; and very few people were able to read. Services were conducted in Latin and, out of a heightened sense of the holiness of it all, priests kept their backs to the congregation. People could not read along, nor see what the priest was doing, nor hear or understand what was being said! In all lands and ages, great paintings and magnificent windows were commissioned. The high cost and effort involved was a way that people could honor their faith and show their love and respect. The content was to help illustrate that faith. The windows were meant to inspire and inform.

Common Themes of the Windows

Notice the setting for each window is like a cathedral. Look at the fancy arches, spires, and domed shape over each picture. That motif is repeated in the large wooden altar and woodwork, the carvings at the side of every pew and the clear leaded glass of the panel of doors along the west aisle. The cathedral style of the woodwork around us matches the cathedral style of the windows and doors. Because our ancestors were doing this for God, there was loving attention to detail.

Also notice that the main picture in every window is set up so that it is as if a person sitting in the pew and looking out that window frame could see that actual scene. These windows were meant to melt away the walls and the miles and the years, allowing you to sit in church, glance out the window and see the Bible scene happening right outside the window. If, for some strange and unusual reason you got bored listening to the preacher, you could look out the window and see Mary and Joseph stopping to rest on their way to Egypt.

Most are paintings done on glass but all of the windows have narrow stripes of colored glass running down the edge of each picture. While some are blue and green, the windows that feature Jesus himself are striped in red and purple. Red symbolizes passion and purple stands for royalty. Additionally, red and purple colored glass are the most expensive because in order to create red, real gold has to be melted in.

Most of the windows feature a circle, enclosing three circles in it, with a triangle in the center, to symbolize the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Every one of the little windows along the lower wall, and most of the big ones, feature what’s known as Luther’s rose. That bluish flower with the red heart in the center, and the black cross on the red heart, was a seal Luther designed in 1530. He pressed that seal into melted wax to approve any writings going out under his name. It remains the symbol of Lutheranism. A concerted effort seems to have been made to make sure you knew you were in a Lutheran space.

Finally, all of the windows are arranged in the shape of a cross. The long part starts behind the altar with the birth of Jesus and ends with the back window of Jesus ascending into heaven. The story of his whole life is illustrated and lived out between those ends.

The shorter cross beam is from the Wise Men window to the window of the Empty Tomb. The feature that unites them the Parable of the Sower. Half of the parable is illustrated in the one window and half in the other. The windows are also paired by the image of palms under a shield at the very top and center of these two windows. Palm branches are a motif repeated in the windows that are part of the overall cross-shaped arrangement of the windows.

Tour Of The Windows ↬