The Windows of St. John's

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The Micah-Amos Window

THE JEREMIAH AND ISAIAH WINDOWS commemorate two of the major prophets of the Old Testament, while the Micah-Amos Window commemorates two of the minor prophets. Micah's ministry probably extended over the period 714-700 B.C.; Amos' ministry 783-745 B.C.

Micah's home town, Moreshath, was a frontier village. Micah was, therefore, concerned about possible enemy attacks. He was probably a village craftsman who fashioned swords and spears as well as plowshares and pruning hooks.

The Assyrians had already conquered Israel - the Northern Kingdom - and now threatened Judah. Micah believed that Judah's strength lay not in implements of war but in promoting good international relations and in a moral reformation acceptable to God. He deplored the wastefulness, desolation and despair war brings to those who long for peace. He yearned for the day when

He [God] shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:3)

In the window we see Micah on the left holding in his left hand a pruning hook and in his right arm a wooden plow with the plowshare attached. Behind him is a sword and spear, discarded, no longer needed, perhaps waiting for him to fashion them into instruments of peace. In the left background we see an outline of his village.

To Micah, the solution of the world's problems lay in the heart of man and in dealing justly with all men.

He has showed you, a man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Amos lived in the town of Tekoa, south of Bethlehem. He was a shepherd and grazed his sheep on the stony slopes of limestone hills: a desolate area in which lurked lions that preyed upon the sheep.

Amos knew God as he saw Him revealed in the harshness of the wilderness and in the storms that raged in the hills and swept through the valleys - an uncompromising God whose moral strength and love of righteousness were as severe as the elements.

The Northern Kingdom, Israel, had prospered greatly. The rich had multiplied; so had the poor. Amos, knowing of the social conditions in Israel, left his village and went to the city of Samaria. He was appalled at the indifference of the rich toward the wretched poverty among the people. Burning with righteous indignation, he attacked the social order and the ruling classes preaching,

. . . they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes they . . . trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and turn aside the way of the afflicted; (Amos 2:6, 7)

In a vision, Amos sees God holding a plumb line testing his people to see if they measure up to his requirement for righteousness.

The true plumb line, our Lord Jesus Christ, confronts us today. But knowing how far out of plumb we are, he offers those who truly repent forgiveness, hope and a new life.

Amos is shown under a sycamore tree holding his shepherd's staff with his left hand and a plumb line with his right. In the background are a flock of sheep grazing and, beyond, the hills of Judea. Behind Amos is a lion ready to attack.

As we read the inscription we can hear Micah calling from the distant past, God "has showed you, O man, what is good: . . . do justice ... love kindness . . . walk humbly with . . . God."

This window was Given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Elizabeth Ramsey Stewart by her husband. Ddicated October 31, 1971.