Some time last year I lay awake designing these windows on my phone using a slideshow app. I wanted to tell the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in 12 panes. The idea is that these 12 panes form a sort of 'thought bubble' around the preacher in the pulpit. A timeline to help us remember where we are in God's story. When we announced the project donations quickly came in as people were eager to sponsor windows but I wanted to find the right artist for the project.
As it turned out a brilliant stained glass artist, Anika Van Der Merwe lives right around the corner from Table View Methodist. You can find out more about her and her work here: https://www.silverstain.co.za/. After meeting Anika and having a look at her work I felt that she would know exactly what to do - and she really did a fantastic job, complete with installation by her partner in life Angelo Carelse. Anika took my sketches and made them come alive! One priority was to make the windows dark enough to be colourful; but light enough to shine from the South face of the church.
Various members of the congregation contributed to the realisation of the project and I will be putting a little book together to record the meaning of the windows and the generosity of those who made them possible which will be a thank you gift to those who donated and for sale to raise funds for a few more windows and window repairs.
The arrangement of the church is symbolic of our being seated as a community around Jesus' table where we receive communion. The pulpit stands behind the communion table and is draped with the words: "God is love." A reminder for us to hear the message of failing human preachers like me through the filter of this good news about God's nature and being. As we listen to preachers, as we pray, read the scripture, share communion and baptize the windows will remind us that we are a part God's great story for creation.
Stained glass changes the light in a room - the congregation facing the windows will be lightly basked in their light - it reminds me of a line from Graham Kendrick's song "Shine Jesus Shine":
As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Every changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me...
I pray that these windows will remind us of the way in which God's story shines light into our stories as we gather together in worship. I give glory to God for the inspiration and the connections that make these things possible. We are truly blessed.
I look forward to worshipping with you at 845am on Sunday 22 December,
And at 8am and 930am on Christmas Day.