Go into all the world…
The architecture and art used in our sanctuary as well as our church building is designed to focus us on Christ. Our art glass windows use color and symbols to represent the events of the church year, the means of grace, and sacraments.
The booklet below contains explanations of Zion’s art glass windows as well as other symbols in our sanctuary and building. You may be amazed to learn how many of the things you see around you have meaning and point you to Christ.
The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, foretold the coming of Christ.
The Chi-Rho symbol, representing Christ is at the top. The Chi-Rho is a monogram of chi (X) and rho (P) the first two letters of the Greek word Khristos, or Christ.
The letter J, in the center of the star stands for Isaiah and also for Jesus as both names come from the meaning “God who saves.”
John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ.
The shell, a symbol of baptism is shown over a triangle, the symbol for the Trinity. This triangle is in turn overlaid on the cross of our Savior.
The water streaming from the shell is meant to symbolize John’s work of baptizing those who came to repentance and to faith in the coming Savior.
Here we see the Annunciation depicted.
The angel Gabriel was sent to tell Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and through the power of the Most High a child would be born, Jesus, the Son of God.
In this window, the Holy Spirit is shown as a dove with the entwined letters A & M representing the angel’s greeting to Mary, Ave Maria, or Hail, Mary, favored one.
This window represents the season of Advent.
Advent is a time of preparation and expectation as we await the coming of Christ at his birth and also on the last day.
Here, we see doors are opened on the letters IHC. These stand for the first three letters of the name Jesus in Greek.
The four Sundays in Advent are symbolized by the four marks and the four steps leading to Jesus.
Here we have Christmas, “Christ’s Mass,” the festival commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior, God become man.
The birth of Christ is represented here by the Chi-Rho symbol in a manger. The Chi-Rho is a monogram of chi (X) and rho (P) the first two letters of the Greek word Christos, or Christ.
We see the manger is shown with a crude roof, a place for animals to feed and shelter. The light of heaven shines down on the Chi-Rho symbol for Christ.
The Epiphany, celebrated on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas is seen as the Christmas of the Gentiles.
At the top you see the star which shown in the sky leading the magi, or wise men, to the place where Jesus was.
These magi, Gentiles from the East, are represented by the three crowns. The crowns in turn represent the gifts they brought in their adoration of the Christ Child; gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Presentation of Jesus at the temple.
As we continue on through the church year following the life of Christ, we look at the window that represents the presentation of Jesus at the temple.
When Jesus was 40 days old his mother, Mary, and step-father, Joseph, brought him along with a sacrifice of two turtle doves to the temple in compliance with the Old Testament ceremonial law of God.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent.
Jesus, is here represented by both a fish and a book. The fish calls to mind Jesus’ ministry. He called ordinary fishermen to become his disciples, “fishers of men.” Jesus also used fish in his miraculous feeding of the 5,000.
The book symbolizes Jesus as the Word of God, the Word made flesh.
A whipping post and scourge are superimposed over these symbols reminding us that instead of being widely hailed as the promised Messiah, Jesus was mocked and whipped.
During Lent we ponder the sacrifice of Jesus and are reminded of our sin and mortality and need for a Savior.
Depicted here is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week.
Christ rode into Jerusalem triumphantly as the people waved palm branches and hailed him as King shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” They spread palm branches on the ground before him. Our window depicts this by showing Christ as the Chi-Rho monogram (the first 2 Greek letters of Khristos-Christ) surrounded by palm branches.
Maundy Thursday, the night Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, and also the night he was betrayed.
We see twelve pieces of bread and a golden chalice as symbols of the Lord’s Supper, the bread and the wine, Christ’s body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
The number 12 represents the Lord’s disciples, including Judas the betrayer. The red cross atop the chalice reminds us what great sacrifice lay in store for Jesus the next day.
Good Friday is depicted with a cross, three nails and a crown of thorns, reminding us of Christ’s suffering and dying for our sins.
We also see the sign ordered to be placed on the cross by Pontius Pilate “INRI,” Iusus Nazarenus, Rex Iudorum the Latin for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” The burial cloth is shown draped over the arms of the cross. Notice also the two smaller crosses, those of the two criminals crucified with Jesus.
Here we have Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord depicted.
Christ now takes the form of the Lamb of God shown here standing over the open tomb of the risen Jesus, with the discarded burial cloth left behind.
The Lamb is shown holding the Christian flag, with its gold cross, representative of the Church on earth. Notice that just as Christ is the head of the Church, above all things, the Lamb’s head is above the flag.
This window shows Christ’s appearance to the disciples.
In the center we see the Chi-Rho symbol (Greek letters chi (X) and rho (P) first two letters of Kristos, or Christ.)
His appearance to His disciples filled them with burning zeal to spread the Gospel to the entire world, as shown by the burning lamps.
The Ascension of Christ into heaven is depicted by the rising eagle.
Before His ascension the Lord promised the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would come. The Holy Spirit is depicted by the flames beneath the ascending eagle.
The circle around the eagle’s head symbolizes eternity and Christ’s eternal reign.
This window represents Pentecost. The word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth.”
Fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the form of tongues of fire.
In this window the Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove and coming from it we see twelve tongues of fire; the power of God’s Spirit working in and through His disciples.
The Holy Trinity is shown here.
The Holy Trinity is here symbolized by three interwoven circles, all equal; a triangle of equal sides; and flames of the power and majesty of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
This window is the final one depicting the events of the church year.
This window, depicting baptism, is rightly near the baptismal font.
We are baptized into the name of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is shown with the triangle as well as the three drops of water falling from the shell into the font below.
Here we see a representation of the Office of the Keys.
The Office of the Keys is the special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth, through the Holy Spirit (shown here as a dove) to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent. – John 20:22-23
The windows in the chancel depict the means of grace through which God communicates with us; the Word of the Gospel, Baptism, and Holy Communion.
Our first window in the chancel is to the left side of the altar behind the pulpit, from where the Word of God is preached and it depicts the Word of God.
We see the cross of Christ standing dominant above the entire world while a scroll representing the Word of the Gospel wraps around the globe.
Communion, the Lord’s Supper, is the subject of this window.
Here we see the grapes and wheat, pictures of the wine and the bread, the earthly elements of Communion.
Rising from the golden chalice we see a cross and chi-rho, symbols of Christ. These are reminders that through the Lord’s Supper we receive Christ’s body and blood and through His death and resurrection, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Here we see the window over the lectern. Reminding us that through baptism we become children of God.
This is shown with the symbol for Christ, the Chi Rho, connected with the water of baptism. The fish, or icthus, which in Greek is an acronym for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior,” was an early symbol of Christians or Christ.
The Great Window in the east wall of our sanctuary above the entrance door was created in Germany and represents the exalted, resurrected Christ, our Savior and our Lord.
The Trinity is shown as we see Christ accepted by the Father above whose hands hold five pointed stars, symbols of the revelation of the Christ-Child to the Gentiles, above the Dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
Cherubim, shown on either side of Christ, bear the chalice and the host, the body and blood of Christ, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.
The rays of glory streaming downward from the God of salvation reenforce that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4