Stained Glass Windows V - Jesus Shining Through Our Stories
Monday June 13, 2022
Dear friends: how have you liked our study on “stained-glass-window-ology” these past few days? Isn’t it surprising how much we can learn about our own lives as we observe and analyze stained glass windows? Today we will finish our reflections with some final thoughts.
In addition to being made of many small pieces of colored glass organized to form decorative images or motifs - in spite of having weathered the sun, rain, wind and cold and still being intact - in addition to being made of materials that are simple and common place - besides passing through fire to be refined - besides receiving a unique and individual treatment - and in addition to needing to be clean and whole so that obstacles do not prevent the light from passing through freely without distortions…
A stained glass window is no good and has no beauty at night or in a dark place– it only fulfills its purpose when it is near a source of light, when there is light shining through it.
Stained glass windows have a dual purpose:
1. first, they are decorative: they are beautiful, luminous and magnificent
2. and secondly, they are also informative: especially long ago when most of the population was illiterate, stained glass windows retold the Biblical stories through images; but even today, most stained glass windows show or teach us something
And so how do these two last points on stained glass windows relate to our lives?
1. the stained glass window of my life is neither beautiful nor useful in the dark – only when my life is near the source of light who is Christ, only when He is behind me shining through me, only then will my life and existence have meaning
Luke 11:33 says, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
As Colossians 1:17,18 says, “… He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
And in John 5:35 Jesus spoke of John the Baptist as a “lamp that burned and gave light”, in whose light the people of Israel rejoiced for a time; but He said of Himself, “I have testimony weightier than that of John …” (John 5:36): “I am the light of the world” and “the light of life”. (John 8:12)
The one who should shine more than me, the one who should be preeminent, is always Jesus; I am only the stained glass window through which the light of Christ ought to shine through.
2. The stained glass window of my life should fulfill a dual purpose:
- the first purpose is to be beautiful, luminous and magnificent – is my life pleasant, interesting, attractive and captivating to others? Does my life inspire excellence, a light of hope, something great and grand in others? Does my life light up and beautify this often dark and ugly world?
- and the second purpose is to retell the story of Jesus Christ living in and through me - when others watch or listen to me, can they see and hear Jesus? when I walk by, can they smell the fragrance and aroma of Christ in me (2 Corinthians 2:14,15)? do my words and my actions bring honor and glory to Him (1 Corinthians 10:31)?
Dear friend: the next time you pass by a stained glass window, stop for a moment, take a good look at it, observe it and study it. Can you see how the light is reflected through it? Does the stained glass window tell you something? Does it have a story to tell? Or is it a work of art, not so much to analyze, but to simply appreciate and value?
Dear friend: and think about your life. If others were to look at you, to observe you and to study you, would they be able to see “the light of the world” shining through you? Would they be able to read the story of Christ in the images and designs of the colored glass of your life? Does your life inspire beauty, happiness and appreciation?
Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross, a world-renowned Swiss-American psychiatrist once said, “People are stained glass windows. They shine when the sun is out, but when darkness comes, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light that shines through from the inside.” May that light illuminating the stained glass window of your life from the inside be the beauty and splendor of Christ in you.+ REFLECTIONS