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Featured Window

Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Building Name: Third Reformed Church

City: Holland

Window Shape: 2 (rectangle)

Subject/Title of Window: Gethsemane

Brief Description of Subject: Gethsemane
Mark 14:36 “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee, take away this cup from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou will.

The representation of Christ in Gethsemane is the only one of our ten stained glass windows which gives us a specific reminder of the events of Passion Week. Thus it is an extremely important one. Of all possible portrayals of that last bitter weekly the artist has chosen Christ in Gethsemane, following very closely the famous picture painted by Hoffman.

Several choices must have come to the is artist before he finally chose the Gethsemane scene, for there are many dramatic scene which took place during the passion of our Lord. There are also famous paintings which could have been followed portraying almost any of those last hours. There is the Last Supper, Church before Pilate, Christ on his way of sorrows, the Crucifixion itself, and the Descent from the cross. In view of all of these choices, we may well ask why this particular one was chosen. The practical minded person would readily suggest that the long narrow shape of the window would eliminate some representation such as the Last Supper of Christ before Pilate. But aside from these practical considerations there is another reason why the choice of Gethsemane is a very good one. The reason is that Gethsemane sums up and portrays as well as any of the passion scenes the whole meaning of the Dearth of Christ. It shows that this is a spiritual struggle. In it are not only imitations of the great victory which is to follow. After considering it from all sides we may well conclude that Church in Gethsemane represents most beautifully and completely the Priestly Office of our Lord. As both priest and sacrifice. He presents Him on this picture before God in prayer bearing the sins of the work, and at the same time winning the victory over the very human desire to save Himself. Thus the text which accompanies this window can be none other than the prayer of the Lord Jesus, “Abba, father all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt.

This is the spiritual struggle, the outcome of which made Calvert a reality. Gethsemane encompasses Calvary. That is the message of this picture to us. Having made these generalizations, let me remind you of the first thing that come to us in the window. It is the fact that Jesus is alone. We have that feeling of loneliness as we look, even though others crowd around us, and even though the Scripture gives us seemingly an eye too closed upon the Master for fear that we treat upon holy ground and witness a scene from which the very angels of heaved must have turned their faces. There are some times in our lives when we must be alone with God, when it would be sacrilege for other to pry in our inmost thoughts. Only God and the person involved know what goes on there. If ever these things were true, they are true in our contemplation of this midnight scene in the garden. He was alone and no one could comfort or understand or fight His battler for Him.

“His Heart craved Sympathy,
but he was alone.
He was fighting the battle for all the race
And he was alone
He was lonely-desperate lonely,
And he was alone

Although this representation side steps the bitterest moment of agony that does not mean that it is devoid of rich symbolic meaning. The reminders are here which tell us that This was the great struggle against the sins of the world. Note the surroundings. Everything is bareness. The ground is solid rock and it is huge boulder of rock against which Jesus Christ is leaning. These have a symbolic meaning. Probably they are not true to fact. The actual Garden of Gethsemane which was located upon the Mount of Olives, was, in all probability the private garden of some friend of the Master, Jesus had come there often to meditate and pray. If you were led to the supposed spot, which today is owed by the Franciscan order of the Roman Church you would find eight huge olive trees standing from twenty-four to thirty feet in circumference. One of these trees is designated as “The tree of Agony and is supposed to be the one under which the master suffered and prayed. Although this is only tradition still it probably is true that it was a lovely garden spot where there was grass and overhanging branches and soft earth under foot. Hofmann’s picture and also our window have departed from that seemingly obvious environment and in the place of low hanging branches, soft earth and grass have depicted for us instead bar rock and a huge boulder. Hofmann has done so, not out of ignorance, nut that he may bring us a message. The message is that the relentlessness and harness of sin with all its bareness and devastation lie underneath this whole scene. This is the master standing against the most disastrous most stubborn, most relentless fact of life-the fact of an evil, violent wickedness in the world.

We have suggested that this picture hints at the victory yet to come. In the face of the Master we see that He is the master. This is not the look of one who has lost, but one who had the victory. The light in his face comes from heaven and reminds us that angles came to comfort him.


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