Father’s Weekly Message

STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS FOR GOOD SHEPHERD CATHOLIC CHURCH: God's covenant with His People

Stained glass windows for our church? Not really a topic one would expect this time of the year as we are steamrolling towards Christmas. Yet, the topic must be addressed before we can take further steps because there is an interest to have these for our church.

Why stained-glass windows? In the Church's history art in the church served the purpose of educating the people who couldn't read. In other words, by looking at them they received information. For that reason, most works of art were biblical themes or scenes from the lives of the saints. Art was not first and foremost for the sake of beauty. As time passed, the rich and famous did solicit the services of the best artists and paid them well. However, biblical scenes were set in the context of the lives of the people, their landscape and scenes of life; eg. the birth of Jesus in a castle with wheat fields.

In our case the idea of stained-glass windows developed in different circles and individuals when the idea first arose. The interest grew and finally the initial steps had to be taken to find out how practical and financially possible it was to have such windows. However, before this issue is addressed, let us return to the question "why".

The interior of the church building is the house of God and must reflect the presence of God and the effects of His grace in the lives of people. Church as building portrays the different aspects of Church worship and devotion. The most significant form of worship is and remains the celebration of the life, death, Resurrection and coming of Christ at the end of time in Holy Mass. For that reason, the altar is such a cbre element of the interior of the Church. Everything else is centered on the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ, and is related to it. In this way we understand the Stations of the Cross. 

We have the pictures and statues of the saints because they are living examples of the transformative grace of Christ. They point away from them to the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, who died and was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. We need them as the living demonstration of the power of grace in the lives of people like ourselves. They give us, hope that the Father' continues to reach out to us through Christ His Son, in the Holy Spirit. Every work of art finds itsi merit in the way of showing us to the life of Christ ) for us.

Stained-glass windows can help us immensely to gain yet another perspective;, of God in the history of His people. We refer, to this history as the history of salvation, which culminates in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. However, this history can be broken up into very,, specific events and persons. This means that the' mystery of God presents itself in a concrete, human fashion for us to understand. It is important and helpful for us to have these scenes in our church. They will remind us of the revelation of God in biblical events and persons. Such stained-glass windows will be another way of reading the Bible. They will serve the purpose of visual proclamation of the work of God in history and will also refer us back to the reading of Scripture. Religious art always stimulates our interest and imagination. They lead us away from themselves into a deeper contemplation of the mystery of God Who revealed Himself as the great, majestic and wonderful Creator-God Who becomes for us the Father in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, our stained-glass windows invite us to pause in front of them and allow them to guide us into the life of the mystery of God made visible through Christ in the life of His People. As in the past, so also today, such art has catechetical functions. It teaches, again and again the content of our faith Scripture. As it were, they are a constant form of evangelization, i.e. the proclamation of thee" Word of God. Our stained-glass windows will unlock for us the mystery of God in concrete, visual scenes.

It is important that we have the biblical key for the windows, which entails the spiritual theology of our church building. That key is the central element in the Bible: the covenant of God with His People, beginning with the creation of Adam and Eve, made with the patriarchs, enforced, by the Judges and Prophets, and sealed forever in and by Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. Consequently, the idea is to have on the one side (right as you face the altar) scenes from the Old Covenant in the Old Testament (better "First Covenant") and on the left hand side the scenes from the New Covenant in the New Testament These scenes are: Adam and Eve, expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, Noah's Ark and the rainbow covenant, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the burning bush, passage through the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments, the Judges such as Joshua, Deborah and Samuel, David the king, the great women Ruth and Esther, the prophets of the Covenant Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. From the New Testament: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth of Jesus, Flight into Egypt, Baptism of Jesus, Jesus preaching and healing, the multiplication of the loaves and fish, Jesus and the children with their mothers, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion of Jesus, the Risen Lord, the Ascension and the Lamb on the throne, Pentecost, Peter and Paul as the beginning of the Church, the living presence of Christ. In total, there are 14 windows on either side.

How will we do it? Parishioners may volunteer to sponsor a window in their memory or of another person (alive or deceased). Such volunteers have already come forward. The interested person or group or sodality or organization may make themselves known to the parish priest. This is a long-term project with no hurry, but we must start somewhere. Persons may also combine with others or groups may combine to sponsor a window.

Who will do it? The two artists (Colleen and Priscilla are sisters) who are a reputable company, did the stained-glass windows in the synagogue in Cape Town and the Catholic Church St Pius X in Plumstead. Their work can be viewed On their website, www.theartofglass. If anyone would like to meet them, this can be arranged. Because we already have volunteers, they can start with the first windows.

How much will it cost? Each window will cost R 2 900,00. This is significantly lower than the first quote of R 4 000,00 from another artist.
We cannot do such a big venture without spiritual preparation. This can be initiated as soon as we place the order for the first windows.

Fr Ivanhoe. Allies (Bothasig)

December 04, 2019