Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Being Stained Glass in the New Century

Stained glass is mute, perhaps ugly, without light. However when the burning sun radiates through it, often a beautiful picture fills the room with vibrant colors and a message. Gothic churches of medieval Europe allowed for wide windows of stained glass because of their architectural supports of flying buttresses and vaulted ceilings. Suddenly, the dark and mysterious Romanesque churches were now competing with the brilliant colors of Gothic churches. To a people with little literacy the windows told the stories of the bible in a clear almost comic book style. Now the peasants could see Adam, Eve, Abraham, Christ and Mary. The new cathedrals had their altars showered by light from the east in honor of Jerusalem as they silently waited for the return of Christ to that sacred city in the end times. People were buried on their backs facing Jerusalem waiting to face Christ on the promised day of the Resurrection of the dead in glorified bodies when the archangel Gabriel would sound his horn across the heavens on that last day. The windows and the dead still wait.
In our times perhaps we are all stained glass windows in the sense that God can shine through us and make his presence known with the warmth and dazzling colors of His love. Perhaps this happens when we know we just did something good for someone, or when we really did a good job in our vocation. As the moment passes, and we and our little world retreats to its sadly familiar darkness, it is good to remember that we did not provide the light that radiated but that He was the light and that He used us to show His love. It is good to be the stained glass.

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