The Stained Glass Windows
Orange Park Methodist Church
The Rose Window
The “Rose” window is so called because of the circular design of the stained glass which serves as the focal part of the window. The circular design within the Christian faith refers to the infinite sphere of God and the endless nature of God’s love. The “rose” is itself the symbol of “Mary” the mother of Jesus Christ. The cross is the symbol of Christ. The cross on each side of the “rose” contain either wheat or grapes which are symbolic of Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples and the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for our redemption.
The “Nativity” window is a commemoration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The manger in the window is a reminder of his humble surroundings at birth and that the God of creation became as one of us to reveal himself to us. The Bethlehem Star (with a beam of light shining down upon the manger) is a reminder that this birth was a worldwide event where even Gentiles (non-Jews) from distant nations came. The stars in the heavens are a reminder that this was a celestial event with heavenly hosts proclaiming the good news of “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” The small haloed red cross symbolizes the birth of a child who would give his all to redeem the world. The symbol PX or Chi-Rho is the oldest known monogram (or letter symbol) for Christ.
Jesus in the Temple
The “Jesus in the Temple” window commemorates the event in the life of Jesus when his parents came looking for him in the temple at the age of twelve. When they found him, he was teaching the priests about God’s Word as revealed in the Torah and represented by the scrolls; he was sharing with them about God’s activity in the world as revealed in the Menorah which is represented by the seven-candle candelabra; and he was sharing with them about God’s presence in their lives as represented by the eternal flame. Not only does the window remind us
that Jesus came to illumine our lives concerning the will and way of God, but the cross is a symbol of Jesus Christ who dwelt among us and died for us. The circle on the cross is a symbol of God’s infinite love for us.
The Baptism of Christ
The “Baptism of Christ” window commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. John the Baptist is depicted by the brown garment of camel’s hair behind the tall reed cross which symbolized his martyrdom. John the Baptism preached a baptism of repentance which is represented by the water, which is a symbol of purification, the shell which is a symbol of rebirth and the dove which is a symbol of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The lamb is symbolic of Jesus who was baptized by John the Baptist during which time the voice of God came down from above and said, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”
The Call of the Fisherman
The “Call of the Fisherman” window commemorates Jesus’ calling of the first disciples along the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is symbolized by the fish and the waters below the PX or Chi Rho which is the earliest monogram of Christ. The empty net is representative of that night that Peter and Andrew had spent fishing but had caught nothing until they followed Christ’s command to cast the net yet again. Once their nets were filled, Jesus challenged them saying, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And they dropped their nets and followed
him. The symbol for Peter to the left of the cross is the keys and recall Jesus’ words to Peter in Matthew 16 where Jesus said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” The symbol for Andrew is the X-shaped cross. Andrew believed he was unworthy to be crucified on a cross like that of Christ, and so he met his end on a X-shaped cross (St Andrew's cross) which became his symbol.
The Sermon on the Mount
The “Sermon on the Mount” window commemorates the preaching of Jesus Christ on what is referred to as the Mount of Beatitudes. This was a small mountain in northern Israel in Galilee near the town of Tabgha on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Mount of Beatitudes is represented by stones stacked upon one another in a triangular fashion and the Sea of Galilee is represented by the water flowing alongside the stones. Christ’s presence at The Mount of Beatitudes is represented by a cross rising up out of the water and the stones. The yellow circle represents Christ’s omniscience, and the stylus on the circle which represents the Word, symbolize Christ’s teachings in Matthew 5-7. The most famous of these teachings are the Beatitudes.
The Feeding of the 5,000
The “Feeding of the 5,000” window commemorates one of the extraordinary miracles of Jesus Christ. The people had come to hear Jesus. The time had passed by quickly and they needed something to eat. Andrew brought a young boy with five loaves and two fish and Jesus blessed them and all those present were fed. The basket with five loaves and two fish represents the gift the boy brought forward. Andrew and Phillip were both present. Andrew is represented by his
symbol which is the X-shaped cross. The tall cross and spear is the symbol for Phillip. The ICXC is the symbol of Christ and is encapsulated by a golden halo. Out of the golden halo emanates rays of light symbolizing Jesus’ blessing upon the five loaves and two fish which would then serve 5000.
The “Palm Sunday” window commemorates the first day of Holy Week. On this day Jesus entered Jerusalem with the people laying down their garments as a red carpet, waving their palms in celebration and shouting, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Many believed that Jesus was the one to conquer their enemies but instead of a conquering Messiah he would be a suffering Messiah who would bring redemption to the world. In the stained-glass in the background, we have the gate of Jerusalem through which he would enter in the midst of cheering crowds. In front of the gate, we see the palms which were symbolic of the excitement
and joy of the crowd. In the upper right we see the crown which symbolized the Messiah that they were seeking who would conquer by might. The cross beside and above the crown symbolizes the suffering Messiah that would conquer not by might but by love.
The “Good Friday” window commemorates the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It was on a hill called “Golgotha” in Aramaic (or “Calvary” in Latin) that he was nailed to a cross, suffered and died. The Bible tells us that his cross stood between the crosses of two thieves. Both Golgotha and Calvary mean skull. It is believed that this is because the hill had two sunken areas that made the hill look like a skull. In the stained-glass window one can find nails at the bottom of the cross that are symbolic of the nails used to nail Jesus Christ to the cross. To the left of the nails is a skull which signifies Calvary Hill on which he died. The two crosses signify the two crosses that his cross was placed between. Green is the color of life and hope and the green cross in the center of the stained glass signifies that through the crucifixion there will come new hope and life to God’s people. The crown of thorns encircling the cross is representative of the crown of thorns that was placed on his head to mock him and cause him pain on Good Friday. The inscription INRI means “Jesus Christ King of the Jews.”
The “Easter Sunday” window commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ through the depiction of four powerful symbols that are representative of the resurrection and new life. They are the pomegranate, the lilies, the sunrise and the caterpillar & butterfly. The sunrise (depicted by the sun with rays of light rising in the morning sky) depicts the resurrection and a new day. For the Christian, the red juice of the pomegranate symbolizes the blood of Jesus and the bursting fruit and seeds, his resurrection. Easter lilies, which grow from a bulb for several years beneath the earth before blossoming into magnificent flowers, also recall Jesus' death and resurrection. The caterpillar and the butterfly are yet another depiction of the resurrection and the power of God’s love. Together they build upon and reinforce the significance of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
The Four Evangelists
The “Four Evangelists” window is dedicated to the authors of the four gospels. The Christian Church is deeply indebted to the four evangelists, each of whom wrote one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) which provide us with four accounts of the life of Jesus Christ. The stained-glass window recalls their writings with The Bible in the center and a stylus on top. Each evangelist is depicted by his unique symbol. In the upper right-hand corner is a man which depicts Matthew, in the lower right-hand corner is an eagle which depicts John, in the lower
left-hand corner is a calf or ox depicting Luke and in the upper left-hand corner is a lion which depicts Mark.
The Armed Services
The “Armed Services” window is dedicated to all those who have served in the armed forces and who have enabled us to enjoy the freedoms that are ours; not the least of these is the freedom of religion. The stained-glass window honors each of the five branches of the service with the seal of each branch arranged around a red and white shield. At the bottom left is the Navy seal, at the upper left is the Army seal, at the upper right is the Coast Guard seal, at the middle right is the Marine Corps seal and at the lower right is the Air Force seal.
The Wedding Feast
The “Wedding Feast” window commemorates Christ’s presence at the wedding in Cana of Galilee reminding us that marriage is a joyous occasion that is worthy of our celebration. Jesus blessed the marriage in Cana of Galilee with his presence and performed his first miracle there. The stained-glass window symbolizes his presence with the staurogram which is created out of the Greek letters tau-rho “In Greek, the language of the early church, the capital tau, or T,
looks pretty much like our T. The capital rho, or R, however, is written like our P. If you superimpose the two letters, it looks like the symbol in the stained-glass. The six clay jars are reminiscent of the six clay jars at the wedding in Cana of Galilee which contained water that Jesus turned to wine in order that the bride and groom not be humiliated and so the feast could go on.
The Wedding Covenant
The “Wedding Covenant” window commemorates the understanding that the wedding is a God ordained event. The stained-glass window reaffirms time and again that the wedding is a divine appointed union through multiple signs and symbols. The dove in the window is representative of the Holy Spirit. The beams coming forth from the dove are representative of God’s blessing upon the wedding couple. The wedding couple are signified by the clasped hands and joined hearts at the end of the beam of blessing. On the right side of the window the two candles with
flames entwined and the two circled rings represent the covenant one enters before God in marriage who is ever present in the Holy Spirit as depicted by the dove.
The Good Shepherd
The “Good Shepherd” window is inspired by the 23rd Psalm. The shepherd’s staff encircled with a crown, combined with a harp, symbolizing David, the shepherd, who became the King and who was the author of the 23rd Psalm. The image of serenity and peace throughout the stained-glass recall Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The image of the lamb recalls Psalm 23:2, “He leadeth me in green pastures and beside the still waters.” The blue skies which symbolize the heavens and the Word of God recall Psalm 23:3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” The black imagery behind the lamb recalls Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” The image of the oil pouring from the horn at the top of the mountain recalls Psalm 23:5, “ Thou
preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” The IHS is a symbol of Christ; the bread and wine are a symbol of Christ’s redemptive work; and the lighted door with a cross in the center is a symbol that Christ has opened the doors of heaven to us and recalls for the Christian Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of
the LORD forever.”