I was taking some pictures around the church today, since the theme of the photo collage I was making was “Holy Week impressions,” (you can see it on Facebook) I thought I’d look for symbols and images in our windows having to do with the events of Holy week. Unsurprisingly, they are all found on the disciples side of the building (the east wall) and are as follows:
Judas plays a crucial role in the events of Holy Week. Our church is one of the few that I know of that has a “Judas window” I like that we do, and I like that it is at the very entrance of the nave. To me, this says “all are welcome here.” I suppose having it the furthest from the altar and Trinity windows could have some meaning too, but I opt for the more “grace filled interpretation,” okay?
Judas actually has two symbols harkening back to Holy week–one acknowledging his participation in the footwashing, which I believe speaks to the kind of grace that would include him in the church.
The other is 30 pieces of silver, acknowledging that he turned in his friend and Lord for that amount of money.
John’s window includes a symbol of the passion of Christ–a Golgotha scene–acknowledging that he is the only (male) disciple to have witnessed the words and events of the cross.
Peter’s window, nearest the front of the sanctuary, is crowned with a symbol of his shame. A rooster that the passion narrative tells us was predicted to crow after he had thrice disowned Jesus. (Happily, Jesus helps him “make amends” for that mistake–listen for it in our Easter narrative this Sunday!
And speaking of Sunday–Holy Week is capped off with the most glorious story of them all. Oddly, there isn’t a direct reference to the resurrection in our stained glass windows. There is, however, a symbol of it at the peak of the central Christ window–the butterfly. In the Church, the butterfly has long been a symbol of the resurrection of Christ as well as the resurrection of believers. The reason why is because the caterpillar disappears into a cocoon, which is like the tomb Christ lay in after the crucifixion, appearing dead. Later, it emerges from “death,” having transformed into something more beautiful and powerful than it was.