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The Candlestick - F,3

Faith United Methodist Church Sanctuary Window - F,3

As you enter the narthex entrance to the sanctuary at Faith United Methodist Church, this is the third window from the back on the left side of the sanctuary, and is designated for this journey as window F,3.

All of the windows at Faith United Methodist Church have the same main structure. The information about the cut glass surrounding the central eight-pointed star is in the text just below. If you wish to skip this part and just read about the star and the symbol contained therein, CLICK HERE. Otherwise, read on.

The glass at Faith United Methodist Church is a mixture of cut and hand stained glass. The hand-staining, however, is much more for accent and detail purposes meant to accentuate the stained color of the cut class used in the design of the window.

We will begin our journey from the frame edge of the window and work our way in to center. We are drawn to the first row of cut glass made of blues and red that remind us of our connection with Heaven through the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Themes of Hope, Sincerity and Piety in the blue cut glass bring us to the reality that without the great love of God in the gift of his son Jesus, our hope would be lost and our journey futile.

The main body of the window is full of pastel colors of pink, green, yellow, blue and orange cut glass affording us the view of a rainbow in all it's splendor as the light floods through and fills the sanctuary with a heavenly show. This rainbow of light reminds us of the union between humanity and God and God's covenant with us for all time. There are also interspersed wedges of cut glass that are Blue, Red and Yellow. Reminding us that the unity and covenant of God are powerful and accessible to us, bringing us hope through the blood of Christ.

Surrounding the center symbol is a ring of red glass that reminds us that our journey through life through the blood of Christ is what enables us to truly experience each of the gifts depicted at the center of the window. The blue background reminds us of hope, sincerity and piety. The shape of the center focal point at first glance seems to be a diamond. If we look closer, however, we will see that in fact it forms an eight pointed star. This is a special star representing for us a symbol in itself of Regeneration and Holy Baptism. Through each of these symbols in the sanctuary at Faith United Methodist Church, we are invited into a journey of regeneration and reminded of the holy family that we are adopted into through our baptism.

The center symbol for this this window is the Seven Branched Candlestick or Lampstand. This symbol has important meaning dating back to the Exodus from Egypt, throughout the churches history, and coming foward to the modern Jewish and Christian Churches. The gold cut glass with hand stained accents reminds us not only of the glory of God, but in this case is a specific reference to the solid gold this lampstand is hammered from. Originally, this lampstand would have had oil lamps. Here it is depicted with white candles to remind us of the pure light that comes from God. If you look closely you can see the detail from the glass artist as the drips of wax can be seen on each candle. The flames from the candles not only give us light but remind us of God's Holy Spirit dwelling within us. The Flame of Fire, aside from the dove, is the most common symbol used for the Holy Spirit and reminds us of the cloven flame of fire which appeared at Pentecost.

In Exodus 25:31-40 we hear God's instructions to Moses on how to construct the Lampstand.

31 Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall be all of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.

37 Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

The Lampstand was one of the main articles of Old Testament worship. As the Israelite people travelled from place to place on their way to the promised land, the lamp would be lit with oil and burn day and night to remind the people of God's abiding presence. It was also a mainstay and focal point when the temple was constructed in Jerusalem. It was lit and kept filled to never burn out, providing everlasting hope in God's presence with them.

We receive another image of the seven candles from Revelation 1, verse 20.

20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Here we are reminded that as the church, the body of Christ in the world, we are to be a candlestick, holding high a burning candle, enlightening the world through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Seven Burning Candles also serve to remind us of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

In the Catholic Church the Seven Burning Candles serve as a reminder of the Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony.

For the Jewish Church this symbol is known as the Menorah and has served as a symbol of faith and God's presence from ancient to modern times.

I end by giving thanks for the life of Mrs. Carrie Webb and those who gave this window in memory of her. The dark yellow cut glass, hand stained in black, reminds us of the Gates of Heaven that await all those who are called God's good and faithful servants.

May God bless and keep you along the way, and shine his colorful light all around you!


(Much of the information on the symbolism in this blog was taken and adapted from the book "Church Symbolism, An Explanation of the More Important Symbols of the Old and New Testament, The Primitive, The Medieval and the Modern Church," by F. R. Webber, Copyright 1938, J.H. Hansen, The Central Lithograph Co., Cleveland, OH)

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