The Windows of St. John's

Article Index

The Bible Window

IS IMPOSSIBLE to estimate the value of the Scriptures to Western Civilization - art, drama, music, poetry and fiction all have been influenced by the Bible and all have drawn upon its rich resources of suffering, love, hate, war, evil and righteousness. Its influence on believer and non-believer, heads of state, parliaments and congresses, statesmen and leaders in all walks of life has been profound. If the Bible with its influence could somehow be removed as though it had never been, almost everything worthy of note in Western civilization would be non-existent.

Our Western civilization, culture and traditions; our philosophy of government; our moral code; our whole judicial system that holds a fine balance between right and wrong, justice and injustice, government by law and anarchy are all built upon the premise that there is a Supreme Being, revealed in the Bible as One holy, righteous, personal Being. To be more specific He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lived and died at a definite time and place in history, and who manifested in His life and work the true nature of God.

The central medallion depicts Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:16-19)

The two small panels at the bottom of the window portray, on the left, Moses receiving the tablets of stone on which were engraved the Ten Commandments or Decalogue, (Exodus 20:1-17; 24:12) and on the right, Elijah being transported to Heaven in a flaming chariot: (II Kings 2:11) Moses, the law giver; and Elijah, representing the great prophets.

The first gospel was written by St. Mark while in Rome (c. 75 AD.). It was in his mother's home in Jerusalem that the Last Supper was held. He may have been the young man who fled naked when Jesus was arrested. It is said that Mark wrote down everything Peter said. In his gospel Jesus is the son of God whose way of life was the way of the Cross, which way his disciples must follow. It demands renunciation, losing one's life to save it. He is shown against the background of the burning of Rome (c. 64 AD.) Below the central medallion to the left is shown St. Mark's symbol: the winged lion, probably used to emphasize the royal lineage of Christ, the Lion of Judah.

The next gospel, St. Matthew, was written by an unknown author. It derives its name from many quotations from the "Sayings of Matthew". The writer was well educated and may have been a converted Jewish rabbi. It was written after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Its purpose was to encourage the Jewish Christians. The writer had St. Mark's gospel before him and incorporates much of it in his own story. Behind St. Matthew is shown the destruction of Jerusalem while above him is the seven-branch candlestick representing the Temple and synagogue worship. The symbol of St. Matthew, to the 'right and below the central medallion, is a winged man symbolizing the Incarnation.

St. Luke wrote his gospel about 85 AD. He was St. Paul's "beloved physician" and was also the author of the Book of Acts. Luke says he investigated thoroughly the life of Jesus. He had available the gospels of St. Mark and the one we know as St. Matthew. He also had special sources of information. His gospel was written somewhat as an apologia of Christianity primarily for Roman imperialist readers and to prove that Jesus' mission was not just to the Jews, but to all men. The panel shows St. Luke, scroll in hand, interrogating a witness to the events in the life of Jesus. His symbol, left and above the central medallion, is the winged ox symbolizing sacrifice.

The last of the four gospels is the one by St. John. However, it was written perhaps as late as 110 A.D. It is not known for sure whether the John who wrote it was the Apostle. It is a spiritual interpretation of the life of Jesus and reflects the teaching and conviction of the Church at the beginning of the second century. Its main purpose is to prove the divine nature of Jesus. Above the central medallion to the right is shown the symbol of St. John, the eagle symbolizing inspiration.

At the apex of the window is depicted St. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9) while above is the symbol of the Trinity from which streams the blinding light.

At the bottom of the window is an open Bible with the words, "God is love" (I John 4:8), 5 and above the flaming sword of the Spirit.

Around the border are shields of the Apostles.


This window was Given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of The Rev. A. G. B. Bennett, The Rev. G. Croft Williams and The Rev. A. Rufas Morgan by members of the congregation and friends. Dedicated February 22, 1959.