Poetry and Images from a Christian

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Many a beautiful stained-glass church window has somehow spoken to my heart and lifted my mind from considering ordinary thoughts to being aware of God's presence. I never stopped to analyze why this is so, until I was discussing with a friend some lovely old church windows that, regretfully, had to be left behind when our congregation moved to a new site. I was not present then, but I empathized with the sense of loss this must have created. He pointed out that there was nothing sacred about those old Victorian floral windows. Happily, the new site was outfitted with lovely, newly created stained-glass windows that tell the stories of the Bible.

I remember driving along one night and thinking, praying, "Why do those windows touch us so?" And then this thought came to me...

Church Windows

What is it about church windows
That speaks to us of God?
There is nothing sacred in them,
Just glass and lead,
Dark and cold,
'Til God-made sunbeams
Flow through
Dazzling witnesses below
With purpose and meaning,
With radiant color,
And streams of light.

Why do human spirits sense the Presence
In a light-flooded, jewel-toned spectacle
Arranged in Gothic portrayals of saints
Or Victorian florals
Or modern undulating, geometric shapes?

Unspoken intuition or soft-spoken Spirit
Bathes us in hope-filled affinity...
In our kinship to the glass.
We, too, are cold and dark,
We, too, need God's Christ-Light
Flowing in and through
Before we come to Life,
We, too.

Sometimes one poem leads to another... this time about the windows of the very first church I attended as a small child.

Jesus Windows

Jesus windows:

The royal baby sleeping in the manger.

The good Shepherd
Carrying the errant lamb.

The Savior standing on water,
Pulling Peter
From the waves.

Jesus praying in the garden.
Jesus dying on the cross.
"Father, forgive them,"
Unfurled below.

The once-doubting Thomas
Touching Jesus' wounds,
Worshiping at His nail-pierced feet.

The living Lord
Knocking softly
At heart's door,
Waiting to come in.

The durable story rendered in fragile glass---
Silently singing.
Simple representation,
Pictorial telling,
In lush detail
For all to grasp
At will.

Translucent panes,
Brittle, liquid, temporal,
Splendid by sun
And firelight,
Flooding darkness with
Color, story-glory
And all this---
Merely a shimmer
Of the Christ-love reality

God reaching out through
Artful hands,
Scientific minds,
Generous hearts,
Faithful voices,
The church combined,

An invitation

I love you.
Come, come to Me.
Come hear the Word.
Come read the Story.
Come find the Way.
Come see.
Come live for Me.
My instrument