Reformation Window

As in the other windows, the symbol of the Holy Spirit with the flames on blue background, a rhythmic repeat at the top of the center lancet, provides the unifying thematic tie of the working of the Holy Spirit throughout.

There are two symbols in the tracery representing the transition from Judaism to Christianity.  On the left is the tiara with its three-armed cross, symbolizing the papal authority which Luther rejected saying, “I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other.” On the right is the open Bible with the date 1534, when Luther translated the Bible affirming, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God.”

In the center lancet is a commanding figure of Martin Luther, standing under the rays coming from the Holy Spirit as in Worms in 1521, when he said courageously, “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise.”

In the center of the predella section there are two books published in 1520.  One is titled “The Babylonian Captivity,” which deals with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, symbolized by the baptismal font and the chalice.  The other book is “The Freedom of the Christian Man,” which states the fundamental Reformation principle: “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, subject to no one; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, subject to everyone.”

In the lower section of the left lancet, Luther nails his famous Ninety Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.  Directly above him and continuing to the opposite side of the window, are church men at the Diet of Worms where he was tried, and by the power of God and His Word, stood firm.

In the top section of the left lancet, Phillip Melancthon holds the “Augsburg Confession,” written by him in June 1530, which as a doctrinal formulation, set Protestantism apart from Roman Catholicism.

The lower right hand portion, called the right predella, contains three books and two symbols.  The first book is “The First Evangelical Hymnal,” published by Luther in 1524.  On either side is the lyre, symbol of music, and a fortress suggesting his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  Luther’s contribution to church music was substantial.  The two other books with the inkwell are the Small Catechism and the Large Catechism, written by Luther in 1529, as he attempted to assist fathers in their God-given responsibility to train their children in the way of the Lord.

At the top of the right lancet are two reformers who walked in the steps of Luther: Ulrich Zwingli who is holding the weapons he wielded in the Kappel War in 1531, where he fell. The other reformer, John Calvin, is holding his “Institutes,” which became a standard work of reformed Protestantism.  Behind them, John Hus burns at the stake for his earlier call to the church to return to the Word of God.  Hus is symbolic of a host of other faithful reformers who preceded Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin.

 

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